THE social lockdown in Gibraltar will continue for another week, the Chief Minister has confirmed in Parliament today.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said he was happy active cases were going down but there have been 30 deaths so far, five in the last 24 hours.

There were 66 new cases but 99 have recovered, leaving the current total at 967.

The COVID ward is fuller than ever with 39 patients and there are 11 in the Critical Care Unit, nine on ventilators.

The five deaths today were all elderly people from 85 to 100-years-old, who died of COVID-19 pneumonia and other underlying conditions.

“The last two have touched me deeply as one was a member of my extended family and another was one of my former teachers,” said Picardo.

“With 30 deaths, every family will now have been touched to some extent by a death from COVID-19.”

Even if the lockdown is lifted on January 25, a nighttime curfew could still be maintained.

He said there was even a possibility that people could be forced to stay in Gibraltar unless travel to Spain was for work or medical reasons.

Barred

Cafes, restaurants and bars will remain closed and further government help for these businesses is being discussed.

Frontline services from the health and police have been affected most by the virus with 10% of each in self-isolation at the moment.

Over 4,000 people have already received the Pfizer BioNTech jab, mainly from the healthcare staff and elderly demographic.

Picardo said it could be possible to open schools on January 25 but February 1 was a more realistic date.

With the pandemic costing the public purse over £100 million until December, Sir Joe Bossano will take on the new portfolio of Financial Stability.

He recently revealed that cuts would be made to the £30 million annual government spending, with the music festival the first to go.

Finally, the Chief Minister asked people to stay and respect the rules so that the lockdown could be lifted as soon as possible.

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