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Chief Minister’s Script – COVID-19 Press Conference - 144/2021

February 19, 2021

Good afternoon


Welcome to another live press conference from No6 Convent Place on the issue of COVID- 19.


I hope that today will be the last live press conference on COVID-19 from No6 Convent Place, at least for now


Since I last addressed, you one week ago, four more Gibraltarians have lost their lives to COVID-19.


That makes the total number of Gibraltarians who we have lost to the virus 88.


81 of those have passed away in just the last 48 days.


All of those who we have lost to COVID will be remembered in our service and in our monument of remembrance.


Despite these four, additional, tragic deaths, today’s news is, however, much better.


Today, we’ve only had 1 new case out of 1,330 tests carried out yesterday.


Yesterday, Thursday, we also had only 1 new resident case out of 1,459 tests carried out on Wednesday.


On Wednesday we have had only 1 new resident case out of 1,955 tests carried out on Tuesday.


And on Tuesday, we had only 1 new resident case of COVID out of 657 tests carried out Bank Holiday Monday.


On Monday we’d had 2 resident cases, on Sunday 4 and on Saturday 3.


These are now very, very low numbers of infections.


The R number is now WELL BELOW 0.5%.


The infection is effectively supressed in Gibraltar.


We now need to keep it down.


The total number of residents with active COVID infections is presently 39.


I expect that number to come down considerably over the next 48 hours, as we anticipate some 20 plus recoveries over the weekend.


Fortunately, we’ve had no overnight admissions to our Critical Care Unit or to the Victoria Ward at St Bernard’s Hospital.


The overall picture now at St Bernard’s shows 5 COVID patients in the Critical Care Unit all 5 of them ventilated.


I am sorry to have to say that some are deteriorating.


There are presently 6 patients on Victoria Ward, all of whom are stable or improving.


The hospital teams advise us that it is likely we will have some discharges from both the Critical Care Unit and Victoria Ward by early next week.


But the fact is that we have made huge progress in pushing down the curve of the new infection rate.


We have seen a great reduction in the numbers of cases requiring hospitalisation.


The pressure on our hospital staff has eased considerably.


We can therefore anticipate de-escalating the alert status of the Hospital to Amber by early next week.


The good news is that this will mean we can gradually restart some routine activity.


We will also allow some very well deserved and overdue staff leave.


And we will also see staff returning to their original departments.


Additionally, and beyond the GHA, we will re-open schools as from Monday.


That will be a seminal moment. 


After over two months, our children will finally return to their beloved schools, to learning and to their friends.


I want to emphasise today, as I did yesterday, my express gratitude for the work of parents in their home schooling efforts.


I want to express again my gratitude to teachers for their remote learning work.


I know this has been a hugely challenging time for both parents and teachers.


All have wanted nothing but the best for our children at this remarkably difficult time.


As we hope we are now coming to the end of the worst of these difficulties, I know we will all be delighted to see our schools active once again.


Monday morning will mean a return to the rush of school traffic also, of course.


So I am glad to confirm the resumption of the Gibraltar Bus Company service on all routes as from Monday.

The service will be subject to conditions provided by Public Health Gibraltar of course.

It will be mandatory for all members of the public over the age of 11 to wear face coverings when entering a bus.

Additionally, all members of the public will also be required to follow strict hand hygiene rules both on boarding and exiting the vehicles.

The bus service will revert to the 50% occupancy system that was in place before Christmas.

The school bus service will be operating as from Monday also and will commence at 50% occupancy.

In conjunction with this resumption of the normal route service, the current restricted service for Gibraltar Health Authority and other health support staff will no longer be available as from midnight on Monday.

In light of this remarkable reduction in infections rates the wearing of masks in all areas will no longer be required.  

Wearing of masks will, once again, now be required only in the centre of Town in Main Street, inside shops and in internal public spaces, as was the case in the autumn.


Slowly life will now start to return to normal.

Children’s parks will also be able to re-open as from Monday 22nd.


The Government will re-start selling the Lottery on the 1st March.


[At last, I am able to answer the lottery question!]


The first draw will be on 9th March and this will be another step towards some form of normality.


Catering establishments will also be able to re-open as from Monday the 1st of March.

They will be subject to the same restrictions as were in place when they shut down last time in mid-December.


We have today issued a statement containing more guidance on claims for businesses that have had to remain closed for the whole of February, which I know the catering industry in particular will welcome.


The curfew will remain for some more weeks, at least until 14th March, between 10pm and 6am.


The Cemetery will once again be open for visits and funerals of groups of no more than 12.

I am also glad to be able to announce that sport will return soon. 

The conscientious and responsible nature in which in our sporting fraternity managed the unlocking of sports first time around has contributed greatly when considering the return of organised sporting activity this time.

Therefore, as from Monday 22nd February all sports will be allowed to return as long as they work within the current restrictions on gatherings which limit the numbers of persons who can gather to a maximum of 12.

The GSLA will not be issuing any permits for an extension of numbers permissible beyond that other than those already active. 

We are however conscious of the fact that this could be difficult for certain sports in particular.

As such, and all being well, the GSLA will start accepting applications for small extensions to numbers beyond the restricted limit under a permit-based system but not until the 8th March. 

I ask that these requests are made by those for whom it is absolutely necessary as permits will only be issued after robust and careful scrutiny. 

Finally, on the 22nd March sports associations will be able to apply for consideration of a return to competition.

The GSLA will consider these issues in consultation with, and on the advice from, Public Health Gibraltar.

We believe this timeline provides a logical and progressive return for those that have been out of action for so long.

More importantly, the scaled and responsible approach has the safety of our community as its foundation.

I can also confirm that we are continuing with our extraordinary vaccination effort in coordination with the United Kingdom.

We are well on the road to covering everyone over 50 already.

We are coordinating with the UK Department of Health and Social Care and with the FCDO to ensure the continuity of supply of vaccine to Gibraltar.

I am satisfied and assured that the necessary arrangements are in place to see that deliveries will continue until the adult population has been vaccinated.

I want to pause there for a moment and ask my fellow Gibraltarians to reflect on the context of the global picture.

130 nations in the world have not yet even been able to administer even one dose of vaccine to any member of their population.

In that context, I know that the whole of Gibraltar will want to reflect on the depth and value of our relationship with Britain.

I also cannot thank our vaccination teams enough.

They have worked as many hours as possible to deliver as many jabs as possible as quickly as possible.

They have done an absolutely incredible job.

In better times, we will celebrate their work and professionalism.

As we will celebrate also the work and professionalism of our MAGNIFICENT GHA and ERS personnel.

As well as the work and professionalism of all our frontline staff.

And we must also find a way to celebrate the work of those Gibraltarians who are abroad but are working in COVID care elsewhere.

Having mentioned some, I continue to get information of remarkable work done by extraordinary Gibraltarians outside of Gibraltar.

Like Dr Vaughan who is practising on the COVID frontline in the UK in the NHS in Worcester.

Or Mr Seymour, who is an A&E nurse in the UK, also in the NHS, where he has been one of the brave volunteers on the vaccines that we hope will return us all to a semblance of normality.

Importantly and despite our most vulnerable now being inoculated and numbers of infections down, the relaxation of restrictions may result in an increase in infection rates in coming weeks.

We just have to understand and accept that.

But we anticipate that the reduction in numbers of cases requiring hospital care will now remain manageable by the GHA.


I will therefore step Gibraltar down from our current Major Incident posture at 6am on Monday 1st of March.


My dear fellow Gibraltarians.


We have crossed the Rubicon.


We have seen the spike of infections tamed.


We have seen the number of daily deaths abate.


But we must remain cautious though.

We are not an island.


There are high rates of infections in the areas of Andalucia around us.


As a result, different controls remain in place in different municipalities.


Please be cautious with any visits to Spain.


We cannot throw caution to the wind.


We are very close to being able to protect everyone in our community through vaccination.


So please do not bring COVID on yourself or your family or your friends by going out to look for it in Spain.


If you go to Spain, be very cautious.


Please be a little more patient.


Please be a little more cautious before you think that life is entirely back to normal.


Because we are not just relaxing measures today.


We are sharing responsibilities between ourselves, as citizens, to be sensible in protecting each other.


Blanket legal prohibitions will now give way to your right to do more.


But it remains your responsibility to think hard about what you plan to do.


Ensure you plan to act in a way that protects you and your family.


Do not put yourself or your family at risk.


When we shut down in December, there were a number of discordant voices.


We even faced protests outside of No6 Convent Place.


Some thought we were being too tough in our lock down.

I believe we did the right thing, in the right way.


If we had not acted as we did when we saw the immediate and dramatic spike in COVID infections, our death toll today would likely be even higher.


So we must remember how numbers rose quickly and dramatically at that time.

We must evaluate the effect of the vaccination programme.


And we must all look out to ensure that our behaviour does not create a vector for new infections.


The responsibility is as personal, as it is communal.

None of us should let the other down.


In coming days and weeks, we will go back to a TEST, TRACE & ISOLATE strategy for those who might test positive.


Please therefore continue to call 111 if you have symptoms of COVID-19.


Public Health Gibraltar at the Contact Tracing Bureau is currently carrying out a post-COVID follow-up review of people who tested positive for COVID-19 some time ago.


The follow-up questions should not take more than 10 minutes and are there to assess if the person has reverted to normal or still has issues.


By keeping an eye on these continuing problems, the GHA may be able to develop better care, as issues persist or evolve.


These calls are being made by the clinicians from the Contact Tracing Bureau who will ask several medical questions and confirm the person’s GHA number.


The contact telephone number being used for these calls is 222 58707.


If you have a missed call from this number, please call back, it’s 222 58707


If there are more than one person or people in the house who has had COVID-19 please let the caller know.


At the same time, Public Health Gibraltar is also conducting a Health & Lifestyle survey on a randomly selected basis.


One of the things we have learned from COVID-19 is that the virus prefers to cause damage in those who are already unhealthy.


Services and support can be better designed, if we know how many and how much unmet need there is in our community.


This survey is anonymous which means the answers will never be attributed back to you.


Some of the questions may seem intrusive and personal, but this is so we can address issues that are often hidden in the community.


By completing the interview you will enable us to better understand issues and problems that are present and for which we need to plan better in future.


The last Health and Lifestyle survey was carried out in 2015 and these calls are being conducted by the Contact Tracing Bureau team.


This survey should take approximately 25 to 30 minutes and he contact telephone number to look out for in these calls is 222 58706, that’s 222 58706. 


If you have a missed call from this number, please call back.


Input is an important opportunity to help future generations and those with conditions that are new or established.


Please help the GHA plan a better health service for all of us for the future.


Public Health Gibraltar is aware that scam calls are taking place, for example those we saw last week in relation to non-existent vaccine appointments.


But these current surveys are genuine and they are important. Please call the Contact Tracing Bureau enquiry number 200 41818 if you’re unsure about this or have any concerns.


And as we now take another step towards normality, I ask you to remember the basic rules we started with and which have served us so well.


Wash your hands and continue to keep a social distance.


And wear a mask where you are required to do so.


Thank you very much for having joined us all these weeks at No6 Convent Place as we’ve been through this extraordinarily difficult period together.


I will now take questions from journalists here at No6 and from those who ask their questions remotely.


Christina Cortes - GBC Christina Cortes from GBC, you mentioned that the vaccination programme is well on its way for the over 50s. The next demographic, according to the registration form, is the 18 to, well, 16 to 50 group, but 16 to 18 year olds have been having them. So this is a very large demographic. Can you tell us how you'll be working your way through it? Will it be going down in order of age, for example?


Chief Minister Yes, we will in fact, be going down in order of age. I think that it's really quite a testament to both, as I've indicated, the relationship between the government of Gibraltar and the government of the United Kingdom in terms of the supply and once in Gibraltar with all of the logistics dealt with by the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Gibraltar Police once in Gibraltar a testament to the work of the professionals in the GHA on the front line that they've been able to get through as many jabs as they have on so many days. I think the proper references, inoculations, but we say jabs for shorthand. And if you look at where we are today, given when we started the inoculation programme, we've already dealt with all of the top priority groups who are already going down the age ranges. We are in the low 50s now. So by the middle of next week we'll be going into those in their late 40s, I guess those aged 49 or so and then downwards through the age ranges year by year.


Christina Cortes - GBC and we've also heard that obviously frontline workers have been vaccinated. But in terms of other workers being vaccinated, can you give us an idea of these, for example, supermarket workers?


Chief Minister So we're going to do now because of the speed at which we can move, is we're going to not look at professions. We're going to look at age ranges. We think it's now quicker, having dealt with all of the front line priorities that we dealt with. We're now just going to go through the age ranges very quickly. If we have one team dealing with the front line and one team dealing with the age ranges, you're going to slow the process down and you're going to have people going, you know, being inoculated maybe in their 20s in the new front line criteria that we might establish. That has been happening for a good reason because people have been in what has been considered to be the very front line. Now that we've dealt with that the advice that we have, again, these are not political decisions, these are issues which are dealt with by advice, by professional advice, is that we should now simply go down the age ranges and capture people, whatever their profession in the age ranges.


Christina Cortes – GBC And you've mentioned that you're confident about the continuity of supply from the UK. Can you give us any information as to when the next batches of vaccine are set to arrive?


Chief Minister So I'd rather not at this stage. I mean, I know when they're due to arrive, there are issues because of the mechanism that we have of supply, which is through the Ministry of Defence, I don't want to be disclosing movements which relate to the Ministry of Defence. And I want to be clear with people that they need not have any concern about their being a chance for them to have an appointment. And they're not being sufficient supply and Gibraltar we have sufficient supply and Gibraltar for all of our teams to be inoculating as much as they can. And we will have back up supply being provided to us so that they can continue to do that through the age groups.


Christina Cortes - GBC] And sorry, one more question on the vaccine, if I might. The Pfizer vaccine has not been given by the GHA to pregnant women. Are there plans to offer the AstraZeneca one to them?


Chief Minister So the advice in relation to pregnant women, as you know, is one which is at the moment being debated between the Royal College in the United Kingdom and SAGE and those who advise on priorities in respect of vaccination. I know that we have, as I've said before, and Gibraltar the AstraZeneca vaccine also, if necessary, not for choice, but in case there is a need. And in that context, the relevant professional decisions will be made sometimes in consultation with the individual woman herself and what her medical record or history is or what her wishes or desires may be in the context of the Pfizer vaccine. And if there are histories of anaphylactic shock, then obviously the AstraZeneca will be the indicated one.


Gabriella Peralta - Gibraltar Chronicle Thank you. And just following on from the vaccines, quite a percentage of the population of the population are Gibraltar has been vaccinated. Has this placed a spotlight on the rock. And will we be sharing our research of having a community that's inoculated? Will we be sharing that with other countries going forward?


Chief Minister Well we shall certainly be sharing it with the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom. And I think all nations will be sharing this data because I think this is data that we need to share so that we all learn from what has happened in Gibraltar and in each town and each village and city and community in the world, so that if there is one place that has managed to do it better than all of the others and this is not a competition, then we all learn from that place. And I really don't claim any credit for Gibraltar having done it better or worse than anybody else. There are parts of this pandemic that we will have dealt with well. There are parts of this pandemic that we will in hindsight think that we could have dealt with better. This is an exercise of learning to ensure that future generations are faced with the same problems, are able to learn from the mistakes that we have made. And in that context, sharing our data, I think, will be a hugely important part of how the world learns to better deal with pandemics of this sort. So the Government of Gibraltar will not be seeking to keep that data in any way secret or private, we will be wanting to share it in the appropriate way.


Gabriella Peralta - Gibraltar Chronicle and how will this data collection take place? So are we going to do like random testing of people who have been vaccinated? And we'll see whether or not and maybe they've got covid. So how will collect the data.


Chief Minister All of that is happening in the sense that you remember that we have a record of everybody who is registered under the group practice medical scheme in Gibraltar. We have a record of all of those who have had COVID. We have a record of all of those who have been inoculated, all of those who have been inoculated, who might then subsequently have the infection because they had it before, or indeed, if they are one of those people who catches the infection despite having the inoculation and what effect the infection has on somebody who has been inoculated, which is likely to mean that they don't get a serious illness and very unlikely we'll see them lead to death. But remember that the vaccine is not 100% proof. There is also the one in 20 opportunity that the vaccine leaves open in certain cases. So we've got to look at all of the data that we have as a health authority and how we are asked to collate that in order to present it and how we ourselves present it. I've just told you also about the survey that public health Gibraltar is carrying out in respect of those who have already had COVID. So we're going back to those cases of people who have had COVID and we are going to find out how they are. Some people will have left the disease behind. Some people would be carrying some sequel from the disease. So all of those things are the important data gathering exercise that's going on.


Christina Cortes - GBC You've said that you expect to see a small rise in cases again, but as long as this doesn't put undue pressure on the GHA, what would the government consider an acceptable rise in cases? At what point would it consider starting again to relock - what would be the threshold?


Chief Minister So I think if you look back at where we were nothing has changed in the context of the sort of pressure that would be able to deal with, you'll know, that the debate about dealing with covid is really structured around two potential objectives. One is the complete suppression of the disease, the elimination strategy. And you don't consider that you can open up until you are satisfied that you've eliminated the disease. And the other is an approach which is designed to protect the public health services ability to continue to provide care, despite there being infections. Now, because we are not an island, we are not New Zealand, we're not Australia, very large islands, but islands nonetheless, or we're not one of the Channel Islands. We cannot go for an elimination strategy. That's why I'm making the point that people have to be very careful if they go into Spain, where there is now a very large number of infections in Andalucia, for example. We expect that there will be more infections in Gibraltar because as people continue to come into Gibraltar from Spain, as we continue to go into Spain, despite having a very large number of the population in Gibraltar inoculated, there will still be infections. Some people might wander into Spain while not yet being inoculated or without having the full protection or even with the full protection you've still got only 95% protection. Then the question is, and coming back to Gabriela's point before, what is the effective inoculation? I mean, the jury's still out on whether or not a person who is immunised by the vaccine still is able to transmit the virus or not. So we still have all of those things to look out for. In that context, the key issue for Gibraltar is which decision did we make? Did we make the decision to not progress down the road of reopening and trying to seek normality until we had eliminated the virus? Or did we go down the route of ensuring that we were always able to provide the public health care necessary for the numbers of infections in our community? And the answer, of course, is the latter. And if you look at what we announced before the first lockdown was ended, we were looking at what the GHA could deal with and the doubling rate of infections and hospitalisations in particular that would lead us to have to lock down again. That is exactly the same metric that we would be looking at. And therefore, I was going say matrix, of exactly the same metric that we would be looking at. And if we felt that that was once again unable to deal with the number of people requiring its care, we would then lock out. I've told you at a number of these press conferences that I refused to do any crystal ball gazing anymore because it's become impossible to be able to predict things with any degree of accuracy. But what is becoming clear from the data is that the one thing that the vaccination programme shows is that the numbers of people requiring hospitalisation goes down considerably. And a lot of this data is coming from Israel where people will know they have more or less the same percentage of the population inoculated as us. But of course, they are a much larger population. Therefore, they have a lot more data as a result of that level of inoculation, of the percentage of inoculation of the community. And what you're seeing there is a rise in the number of infections, but you're not seeing a rise in the number of hospitalisations. That's the key factor for us. And that will be what drives us to determine whether or not we're able to continue without it for the lockdown, which, of course, we would only do if it were absolutely necessary.


Christina Cortes - GBC and one final question, if I might. We've seen that there have been deaths amongst ERS residents, although the number of cases in the ERS has been deemed zero due to not being considered active cases. Can you tell us how many other cases there are of ERS residents still suffering from the effects of the virus despite not being deemed active?


Chief Minister So I can't tell you that because the issue is that the virus no longer being active that patient is not manifesting as requiring, that residents not requiring as a patient, rather, requiring care for COVID-19. But as I think we explained in a press release, unfortunately, in the past few days, the disease can come back and kill a person even though that person is deemed recovered and even though that person may not even be showing any symptoms anymore, but it can have done something to your lungs. It can have done something to your heart. It can weaken you, an event that may have occurred which you might have got over because you've been harbouring the infection. Its weakened you, that event could be a fatal event. So we have to be very alive to these issues. In the context of the contact tracing bureau, a survey that is now being carried out for public health Gibraltar. That's what we're looking out for in the context of the wider population. And we're carrying out the same sort of surveys inside the GHA and ERS to ensure that we are collecting these data and better understanding what the after effects of the disease can be, because, as you rightly say, these are no longer active cases of COVID. The Individual is no longer manifesting as a COVID patient, but then something happens and the death, we are told, originates from the covid infection.


Gabriella Peralta - Gibraltar Chronicle Thank you. And picking up on the wearing of masks and how it will be in town, but not outside anymore. And what is the reason behind it? Is there evidence that in town is a focal point for spread?


Chief Minister So the key factor here is to go back to where we were in autumn. You'll recall the explanations that we were given then by public health Gibraltar was that the view was that you only really need a mask where you're able to project the virus in a way that is going to reach a third party and in the town area because of the demographic nature of the geographic nature of our town. When you're in the main street area, you're more likely because of the pavements etc to be closer to people and even because there is now evidence of aerosol infection, even being close to somebody can result in the infection passing. Now, you could still be close to somebody anywhere else in Gibraltar, you have to be careful, but the accumulation of people in the sort of proximity that could give rise to the infection passing is most likely to occur in the town area, if you're inside a shop, because then you're not outside if you're inside a common area of a public building, et cetera. So we're going to go back to those regimes that we had in place in the autumn. Look, I see a lot of people who are power walking, who are exercising, and they're wearing a mask because we require that at the moment. I see that they are alone and they're wearing a mask and they're not going to pass it to anybody but themselves, which is, of course, nonsensical. So we are now able, because of the low numbers of infections, to go to this regime, which ensures that where people accumulate, they're being required to wear masks even if they're in the open outside and where people are inside in areas which are common, whether that's in the town area or not in the town area, they're also required to wear masks because there, there could be aerosol infection. But we've got to understand that we're trying to do this so that people can enjoy their freedom not to have to cover their faces. And we have to ask people to always be cautious. And if you see that even though you are not in the town area, even though you're not in the area where you have to wear it, if there's an accumulation of people, I suppose most people now will have a mask on them. Please wear your mask if you find yourself within two metres of others, etc..


Gabriella Peralta - Gibraltar Chronicle and finally, sorry, but this is in your speech but the catering establishments, are they going to return to the guidelines that were previous in December?


Chief Minister So what I said was that they would go they would be able to reopen on the basis of the regime that was applicable when they closed down. So the regime in December will be the regime that will apply from the beginning of the reopening on the 1st of March with the additional element of the curfew. So we will still have the curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. until the 14th of March. So that will be an additional layer which will affect the catering establishments that tend to stay open after 10:00 p.m. in the evenings.


Olive Press Good afternoon, Chief Minister. We move to the questions from the journalists at home, and the first is from the olive press, can you evaluate the performance of the e-government and email public service system during the pandemic, especially during times when government counties have been closed and all transactions had to be carried out electronically?


Chief Minister Well, I can't evaluate it at the moment because I would need notice of that question to be able to do with the evaluation of it. The only thing I can tell you by way of ad hoc evaluation is to say that the numbers of complaints that I have had have not been huge. I think that we have been able to at least hold our own in the context of being able to continue to do the public services since the 1st of January, in the period that we have been closed for the past six or seven weeks and I hope that this has enabled us to refine the way that we offer e-government, which I think is not yet the level of e-government that we want to be offering.


Olive Press And the second question from the olive press is, is it viable that the whole population will be able to get vaccinated by the end of March, or is this totally dependent on the availability of the Pfizer vaccine?


Chief Minister So I would be giving the information I've said I'm not going to give about the timing of supply, arrival, etc. if I wandered into answering the same question in another way.


YGTV And now the question is from YGTV, as we now know, some people suffer prolonged symptoms and poor health for many months following a COVID infection. This has prompted the creation of dedicated long covid clinics in the U.K. Can you say how many people in Gibraltar fall into this category, what the GHA is doing to help people who are suffering from long covid and what extra resources have been allocated to deal with these long term health consequences?


Chief Minister So we are already identifying people in Gibraltar who have consequences of the infection after they have been deemed to be recovered. This is what the contact tracing bureau is now going to be carrying out a survey on for public health Gibraltar, which I've announced today of the resources in the GHA are now dedicated almost entirely to COVID. And as we start to offer new services going forward, as we start to come back to the routine services that the GHA would offer, one of the things that we will be gearing up to do is to provide support to those who have had covid and who are continuing to suffer the consequences of the covid infection.


YGTV Is the government already able to see how effective the vaccination programme has been so far? For example, how many people have become infected after receiving the first or second dose and how many of those infections were symptomatic? More specifically regarding the case confirmed earlier this week in ERS, can the government say if this person had been vaccinated? And if so, what level of immunity has this resident achieved?


Chief Minister So I cannot give you at the moment the exact data on the numbers of persons who have been vaccinated and who have taken the infection after vaccination. We are still too close to the commencement of the vaccination programme for me to be able to tell you with any certainty as yet, because I haven't been given the information that the people who have had the infection after vaccination had not potentially caught the infection before they were vaccinated. As we move away from the period when people acquire the full immunity and you'll know that we are at the moment about a week into some people having the full level of immunity. In other words, those who have their first doses being seven to 10 days into their second dose, which is when the full immunity would kick in after vaccination. So that is still very fresh. We still don't have evidence of any of those that I'm aware of having the infection. Now, we have some evidence of people who have had a first dose having now manifested with the infection. But again, we don't we are not yet able we haven't yet been able to determine whether they have the infection before they have the first dose or whether they didn't have it and they had the first dose, but they didn't have enough protection and they got the infection with just the first dose.


Gabriella Peralta - Gibraltar Chronicle Just one more question. Are they going to be any changes in travelling into Gib?


Chief Minister So this is an issue which is a moving feast as the issue of new strains is one that we need to keep a lookout for. There will be new countries added to our red list. There will be some countries taken out of our red list. There may be new requirements upon arrival in Gibraltar or for arrival in Gibraltar. And of course, we've got to dovetail those not just with the airport, with Frontier.


Gabriella Peralta - Gibraltar Chronicle OK, have any of the new requirements being decided yet?


Chief Minister If they had been I would have announced it


So, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much indeed for joining us at number six commonplace. I don't expect that they'll be addressing you again from here during what we might call this third wave of the covid infection in Gibraltar. I believe we have now seen the suppression of the infections in Gibraltar. And I hope that we will never again have to go back to the rhythm of daily or weekly press conferences from number six. But we are not yet out of the woods. We still have to be very careful. We still have to look out in particular for ourselves and for each other. So please do continue to follow those basic rules about washing your hands, about keeping your distance, and about wearing a mask where you're required to do so, just as you've done so successfully in the period that has led us to be able to suppress the numbers of new infections in Gibraltar. I want to thank each and every one of you for your help in this period of lockdown. We've only done this because we've done it together. Thank you very much for having joined us weekly here at number six convent place. And I look forward to those better days to come to the opportunity to remember all those who have passed away in the past three months since the numbers of deaths started to go up in Gibraltar late last year and to a permanent monument to their memory.


Thank you.