HEALTH authorities in Gibraltar have confirmed the detection of three cases of omicron variant among 16 people who tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

 The first probable case was detected on December 9 and the two subsequent cases were linked as close contacts to the initial case. Both are people who live in Spain but cross the border daily to work in Gibraltar.

“We regret to confirm that the Omicron variant is in Gibraltar. Although we took a cautious stance by isolating all close contacts before the case was confirmed, a further two close cases have now been confirmed,” said Gibraltar’s Director of Public Health Helen Carter in a statement issued on Saturday. 

She insisted that the best defence against the new variant was a booster jab.

“Early analysis suggests that the booster shot prevents about 75% of people from getting any COVID-19 symptoms which relieves pressure from our health care systems and protects the most vulnerable within our community,” she said.

Following the news that the omicron variant had reached the Rock, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo urged residents to seek out a booster jab.

“We are lucky enough to have been provided by the UK Government with an adequate supply of vaccines for third doses to protect our people and cross frontier workers, so Get Boosted Now,” he said.

“By getting all of us boosted, we can really see Omicron off and be an example to other nations – but we will not achieve that if some decide to not take up our offer of the vaccine for ‘diary planning’ purposes. 

“It’s a risk we cannot afford to take collectively as a people. So if it is more than 3 months since you had your second jab, get your booster.”

From Monday, Gibraltar’s health service is expanding the vaccination programme by offering walk-in clinics from Monday 13th December to Friday 17th December from 09:00to 20:00 on a drop-in basis.

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