In what he described as "the hardest decision I have had to make in my political career so far", Gibraltar’s chief minister announced on Sunday afternoon that a "total social lockdown" will come into force at zero hours on Tuesday (24 March), for an initial period of 30 days.
Fabian Picardo explained that the measure was not being implemented immediately, to give businesses time to organise. He also said it will be reviewed every 48 hours, to assess whether it was still necessary.
The terms of the lockdown in Gibraltar are not as severe as in Spain, as people will still be able to go for a run or a walk, or exercise children, as long as they maintain social distancing.
However, all retail shops which do not sell food will close and although offices can continue to operate everyone is asked to work from home if they can possibly do so. Construction sites will have to close unless granted a permit.
The move came after a 100 per cent increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Gibraltar in 24 hours, from five active cases to ten.
It is important to note that the border between Gibraltar and Spain is not affected by this lockdown.
The Gibraltar government and Spanish authorities are cooperating with regard to measures to cope with the coronavirus outbreak and have agreed that it is important to keep the border open.