3rd March 2021
Fabian Picardo
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Gibraltar ‘devastated’ as Covid-19 deaths quadruple in fortnight

Latest: Coronavirus in Spain figures (9 Feb)

Gibraltar has been left ‘devastated’ on Monday after 13 people died from Covid-19 during the weekend, with soaring infections resulting in the death toll quadrupling there in under a fortnight.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Gibraltar government said it was ‘devastated to confirm nine further deaths from Covid-19′ over a 24-hour period, with the Gibraltar Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, also tweeting that it was ‘undoubtedly the saddest public statement that the government has ever issued’. Another four people had died on Saturday, taking the total number of deaths to 43.

Picardo said: ‘The death toll is growing at an intolerable rate both in terms of those resident in ERS [Elderly Residential Services] and those in the hospital on arrival from the community. Personally I have lost friends, work colleagues, supporters and relatives in three days. I know that many others also share this deep sense of loss and my thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one at this difficult time. It is just devastating at a human level.’

Gibraltar only registered its first death from Covid-19 in mid-November and by 6 January, the toll had risen to 10. The recent deaths come two weeks after Gibraltar imposed a second lockdown to slow the soaring rate of infections, with its 34,000 residents only allowed to leave home for essential shopping, to work, exercise or for medical reasons.

Initially imposed for two weeks, the lockdown was then extended on Friday and is now likely to remain in place until the end of January.

Fabian Picardo
Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo announcing the lockdown on 2 January 2021. (Twitter / @GibraltarGov)

The number of Covid-19 cases in Gibraltar has also more than tripled, with the British Overseas Territory counting 3,670 cases, according to Sunday’s figures, up from just over 1,000 at the start of December.

Authorities are concerned that the soaring infections may be linked to the new Coronavirus variant which was first detected in the UK in November, although so far, Gibraltar has only confirmed one such case.

‘We don’t have the information at the moment on the genetic makeup of the strain … [but it] is behaving as if it were one of those more infectious strains,’ Picardo had said on 8 January.

Gibraltar started to administer vaccinations on 9 January, using the Pfizer vaccine, and by Sunday it had administered 5,847 doses — covering around 17% of its population.

‘Our vaccination programme brings us hope but we need to work together to see away these dark days,’ Picardo said. He appealed to citizens to ‘accept the vaccine when the GHA offer it to you’ and in the meantime to stay home unless it was absolutely necessary. ‘Together we will pull through,’ he said.

Writing on Twitter on Sunday, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya sent a message of ‘solidarity with all Gibraltarians who are fighting Covid’, saying she hoped it would ‘soon be behind us’.

Gibraltar has not closed its border with Spain, which is crossed daily by around 15,000 workers, although movement is currently restricted to essential work or medical reasons.

Click here for all previous reports on: Coronavirus in Spain

ALSO READ: UK and Spain reach ‘principle of agreement’ over Gibraltar

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