FIVE elderly citizens have passed away as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last two days.

All of them were in the age range of 80 to 95-years-old and most of them died of COVID-19 pneumonia.

Active cases of the virus are today at exactly 1,000 after seeing growth reduced over the last few days as lockdown restrictions took effect.

Worryingly there are still 128 active cases at elderly homes, containing some of the most vulnerable in the community.

There are 34 patients in the COVID-19 ward and 12 in the Critical Care Unit at St Bernard’s Hospital.

The last few deaths bring the total number of COVID-19 fatalities to 25 after the Christmas period.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said: “The deep sense of loss currently being felt by our community is overwhelming.

“This cruel virus has taken too many, too soon. My thoughts and sympathies are, as always, with the families and friends of the deceased.”

The man who died overnight of multiorgan failure and bronchopneumonia caused by COVID-19 was especially mourned by the Chief Minister.

‘I knew the deceased man well, as he was my first direct boss very early in my career,” said Picardo.

“I will always remember him as a gentle, kind man who was always happy to help and advise.”

He advised people to stay home to stay home ‘unless it is absolutely essential’ and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Vaccine help

The effort to give jabs to the population as soon as possible comes after the Pfizer BioNTech virus landed in Gibraltar on January 9.

Picardo also praised the taxi association for starting to take elderly persons to the vaccine centre at the ICC for free.

“I am genuinely thankful to the Taxi Association for stepping up in this way and offering a taxi service free of charge for the senior citizens of Gibraltar,” he said.

“This will facilitate the vaccination process and demonstrates how the Gibraltarian community always pulls together at a time of crisis.

“Too often critics of taxi drivers like to criticise but fail to highlight moments like this and the other many instances when the members of the Taxi Association step forward to help our community.”

In neighbouring La Linea, cases continue to grow with over 300 recorded today.

However, pleas from the town hall and teaching association for schools to be closed down have been denied by the right-wing Andalusian regional government.

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