It was announced this week that Gibraltar's Director of Public Health will not be continuing in the post as his contract is not being renewed. Apart from the official announcement, Dr Sohail Bhatti posted on Twitter that he was very sorry to have to leave, and that he had worked very hard to protect the community during a very difficult period. "The pandemic is still not over," he said.
No reason was given for the decision not to renew the contract, but the chief minister, Fabian Picardo, notified parliament that he would be moving a motion to bestow the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour on Dr Batthi "for his extraordinary contribution to the health andwellbeing of the people of Gibraltar in his role as Director of Public Health during the Covid pandemic".
Dr Bhatti's comment about the pandemic not being over is certainly being proven in Gibraltar at present. Despite the vast majority of the adult population being fully vaccinated, positive cases of Covid-19 continue to rise and on Thursday it was announced that the contact tracing service was receiving a high volume of calls and would contact positive Covid-19 cases as soon as possible.
On Wednesday. 643 people were self-isolating in Gibraltar after contact with someone who had tested positive or after testing positive themselves, and the records showed that there had been a further 32 new active cases, bringing the total to 303. Of these 283 were residents and 20 were visitors. The new cases among residents included several young children.
Fortunately, due to Gibraltar's high take-up of the vaccine, the number of people in hospital with the virus remains low, with six on the Covid ward and three in Critical Care.