New restrictions are now in force in Gibraltar in response to a continual sharp rise in Covid-19 cases on the Rock. On Sunday afternoon chief minister Fabian Picardo announced a curfew from 10pm to 6am, starting that same evening, and all non-essential shops have had to close with effect from today, Monday, as well as hairdressers and beauty salons.
The new measures are for an initial two-week period, until 10 January, and came with a warning that a full lockdown and border restrictions could be brought into effect if this ‘circuit break’ or ‘firebreak’ is not sufficiently effective.
Non-essential shops will be permitted to sell online and by telephone, and deliveries and collections may continue. Shops which are considered essential, such as supermarkets and bakeries must now close at 9pm. Other businesses such as chemists, petrol stations, dentists, opticians etc are open, but with strict anti-Covid precautions in force.
Picardo urged people to work from home if at all possible, and to stay at home unless they really have to go out. He also asked that households do not mix, except in the case of people who live alone in which case the maximum should be two households.
Picardo said the curfew will be lifted for New Year’s Eve, but stressed that the new measures are in addition to those already introduced, such as masks being obligatory in all public places. The number of people allowed to gather together is limited to 12.
The R rate in Gibraltar is now 1.79, and figures issued on Sunday made bleak reading with 482 active cases of Covid-19 and 1,703 people in self-isolation including a large number of frontline workers, putting health care services under pressure. The chief minister said the virus is behaving differently now and is spreading twice as fast as it did before.
There will be a statement from the government regarding any changes to these latest restrictions on or before 7 January.