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Field hospital ready as Gibraltar mourns possible virus victim

The field hospital is ready to take patients if necessary.
The field hospital is ready to take patients if necessary. / SUR
  • The Florence Nightingale field hospital at the Europa Point sports centre is ready for patients if necessary but the government hopes it will not have to be used

It was announced with great sadness on Thursday that a man in his fifties who had died in Gibraltar may have been suffering from coronavirus, but test results were pending so the authorities were unable to confirm whether the virus had been the cause.

The man was in a high-risk category and had been in self-isolation for three weeks. He had phoned the 111 emergency service for advice a few days beforehand, and again at 11.45pm on Wednesday night because he was suffering from shortness of breath, which is a symptom of Covid-19. An ambulance was dispatched and paramedics found that he was suffering from cardiac arrest. Resuscitation attempts at his home and at A&E were unsuccessful. The authorities say he appeared to have died from cardiac arrest but it may have been Covid-19 related and this was being investigated.

Florence Nightingale Hospital

Gibraltar has been stepping up its preparations for coronavirus cases and the field hospital at the Europa Point sports complex was completed this week. The Florence Nightingale field hospital has 192 beds and the capacity for 300, and the government hopes it will never be needed but its creation has been a priority since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Niches of the type used in Spain have also been built in the cemetery in case of a large number of victims due to the coronavirus. Again, the Gibraltar authorities hope they will never be used but say it is vital to be prepared for every eventuality.

Recovery

There was, however, some uplifting news for the people of Gibraltar, who are currently subject to a lockdown which began a week and a half ago. An 89-year-old woman recovered completely from the virus and was able to return to her home.

The government and medical authorities are in the process of random testing of local residents, with their permission, to determine the level of coronavirus in the asymptomatic population as a whole.

The government gives a live update every day at 4pm, and Thursday's figures showed that there have been 88 confirmed cases in total, of whom 42 are currently active and 46 have recovered.