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Press Conference 1st May 2020

May 01, 2020



Good afternoon.

Welcome to our daily briefing

on COVID-19.

Thank you for joining us.

We continue to face a global health crisis

which impacts on Gibraltar in different ways.

The purpose of these briefings is twofold.

The first is to keep you informed.

And the second is to make sure you keep safe.

So we will be updating you on a number of areas

And repeating our public health advice.

I am joined today

by the Minister for Business, Tourism and Transport Vijay Daryanani.



Today is May Day.

We mark International Workers’ Day.

On 1 May 1886,

300,000 workers across 13,000 businesses in the United States walked out of their jobs.

The epicentre was in Chicago.

Events at Haymarket Square were at the heart of it

And protestors lost their lives.

The driver was a campaign for an 8 hour day.

The short-term result was bloodshed and violence.

The long-term consequences were profound.

And 1 May was declared International Worker’s Day.

In memory of the Haymarket affair but also

of the struggle for workers throughout history.

And also mark the rights that we enjoy today

which at one point were non-existent.

This year, May Day comes in the midst of a global pandemic.

Where hundreds of thousands are infected with COVID-19.

And where tens of thousands have lost their lives.

This year,

we remember in particular those on the frontline.

Our healthcare workers.

Our emergency services.

Our essential services.

The public sector.

The civil service.

The private sector.

Those in our supermarkets,

in our pharmacies,

in our petrol stations,

in our takeaways and delivery companies,

and all those who have kept Gibraltar going.

This year more than any other,

May Day is your day.

Thank you!



I will start with an update from A&E and with the latest test data as at 8.30am today.

Remember that anyone with the symptoms of COVID-19 should call 111 first.

In the last 24 hours there were a total of 29 attendances at A&E.


Nine of them had COVID symptoms.


Four were swabbed.


There were no admissions to the COVID ward.


But two admissions to the COVID CCU.


Neither of whom has required ventilators.


The latest test data is as follows:


Total swabs 2700

Results received 2501

Results pending 199


Confirmed cases 144

Recovered cases 131

Active cases 13


All 13 active cases are at home.


The above includes the figures for the

frontline targeted and systematic sampling.


There are 149 free beds at St Bernard’s

and 238 at the Nightingale hospital.

This makes it 387 free beds.



The grand total of 2700 tests so far is some 8.4% of the population.

The equivalent in UK would be 5.6 million tests.

And they have done just about a million so far.

Gibraltar continues in the top ten

in terms of tests done per capita (million).

We are now ranked at number five in the world.



I want to provide a more detailed breakdown of the latest test data.


There are 144 confirmed cases.

79 males and 65 females.


11 of them aged 19 or under (0 to 19).

52 aged from 20 to 39.

63 aged from 40 to 59.

15 from 60 to 79 and

3 from 80 to 89.


44% of cases, the largest single age group, are between 40 and 59.


And 9 of the confirmed cases are over 70.



Legislation to give effect to the next stage in the relaxation of lockdown will be published today.

These changes will allow retail shops to open.

Other than those which have been open throughout.

Hours will be limited between 10am and 5.30pm.

This will be subject to other conditions that will apply to all shops.

They must provide hand sanitising facilities.

Social distancing must be practiced where practicable.

(if not possible masks must be worn by employees) and

 they must comply with any other recommendations and instructions of the Director of Public Health. 

Hair and beauty salons will also be able to reopen. Again there are conditions on how they operate.

Customers may only attend by appointment. Employees must wear masks.

Hand sanitising facilities must be available at entry and exit.

Good hygiene must be maintained.

And they must comply with any other recommendations and instructions from the Director of Public Health.

Restrictions on opening times will not apply to hair and beauty salons.

Because of the requirement that they work on an appointment only basis.

Estate agents will also be able to resume their business subject to similar conditions.

This includes the wearing of masks when visiting properties.

Clinics which provide medical or health services may also recommence work.

This includes dental services, opticians, chiropractors, osteopaths and others.

 Again they must take appropriate precautions.

Our approach

continues to be to prioritise public safety and security.

Our objective

is to continue to suppress the spread of the virus as much as possible.

The restrictions will be removed gradually and prudently. 

The relaxation of these restrictions only apply to persons under the age of 70.  

In order to protect the most vulnerable.

Persons aged 70 or over will need to wait a little longer.

Until it is safe to further relax the lockdown for them.


We recognise that as some businesses start to open,

there may be a greater demand for

our childcare supervision facilities.


This has to be managed.


So that there is sufficient staff available.


And to ensure social distancing is observed.


I would remind you that the childcare supervision facilities are only available

for children falling within the categories set out by the Department of Education.


Other than in the case

of vulnerable children,

those attending St Martin’s or

other special circumstances approved by the Director of Education,

the childcare supervision facilities can be used only where the parents have to go to work

and are unable to make alternative childcare provision without involving relatives over the age of 70.


Where a parent is at home or working from home, the child should remain at home.


Any parent whose child meets the Department of Education’s criteria and

who needs to take their child to any of the childcare supervision facilities must now submit a form.


This form is available at


A failure to do so may result in your child being unable to make use of these facilities.


In order to avoid this,

please submit the form if your child falls within the relevant categories and

you intend to take your child to either

Notre Dame, if your child is in the Lower Primary Sector,

St Anne’s for Upper Primary children,

Westside for Secondary schoolchildren or

to St Martin’s.



Moving on, I am pleased to report that

the EU has now updated its PPE Regulations.

PPE means Personal Protective Equipment.

This has simplified export procedures for PPE to a number of countries.

Including to Gibraltar.

This change is on the basis that those countries have a particular dependency

on the supply chains of Member States to which they are linked

or to the supply chains of neighbouring Member States.

It covers protective spectacles and visors,

mouth-nose protection equipment and

protective garments.

The modified Regulation now exempts Gibraltar.

This means that the simplified procedures apply.

And this facilitates the export of PPE to us

from the EU

or through the EU.

This is a very welcome development.



A short update now on the archives.

Last week the Gibraltar National Archives uploaded historic footage of Gibraltar.

Within hours of the announcement,

over 1000 of you viewed the film clips.

The number of hits has continued to increase.

This is hugely encouraging to the Archivist and his team.

So thank you.

As you know,

Her Majesty the Queen visited Gibraltar in 1954.

Next week is the anniversary of that visit.

Footage has been uploaded to the website.

It is new to me and well worth watching.

Check it out at

Once again

I want to thank Anthony Pitaluga and his team

for making this available during lockdown.



I now want to say a few words to our over 70s.

There are now three exercise options open to you.

The first is to stay at home

and exercise at home.

The second is to exercise in a sheltered area.


The third to exercise where and when you like.


our advice remains the same.

If you are over 70, you are safer at home.

Nonetheless, we appreciate that

exercise would benefit some people in this cohort

after so many weeks of confinement.



So on Wednesday those over 70

exercised outdoors for the first time.

219 exercised under the “Golden Hour” scheme.

The numbers were:

90 in Camp Bay;

59 in Eastern Beach;

66 in Commonwealth Park;

And 4 in the Victoria Stadium.

On Thursday, the numbers increased to 245.

This was broken down into:

118 in Camp Bay;

55 in Eastern Beach;

65 in Commonwealth Park;

And 7 in the Victoria Stadium.

So, the most popular area is Camp Bay.

And the least popular the Victoria Stadium.


Those four areas are cleaned and disinfected.

Access is controlled.

Marshalls are in attendance.

Hand sanitisers are provided.

St John Ambulance has a presence at the four sites.


we have done as much as we can.

And the Government is very grateful to all those who have helped.

But remember even sheltered exercise is not risk free.

We can mitigate the risk but we cannot eliminate it.

For instance,

those who exercise will need to get to their chosen area and back.

Do so with care.

Avoid touching anything outdoors.

Do not touch your nose or mouths.

And wash your hands on returning home.

Make the experience as safe as possible.

Remember that the “Golden Hour” is available only on weekdays and not on Bank Holidays.



Some over 70s asked to exercise where and when they liked.

In the same way as everyone else.

Without the constraints of time and place.

But also without the protection.

This is now possible too.

Clearly, this third option carries the most risk.

So if you are going to do this take extra care.

Be sensible.

Avoid trouble.

And stick to the rules.

Maintain social distancing.

Those who take up this option

will need to weigh up the benefit

against the much higher risk.


We know that confinement is not easy.

Even more so for over a month.

It is a tough experience for anyone.

In particular for those over 70.

We understand that.

But it is important not to let down our guard.

The number infected here has gone up.

It could jump further at any time.

Our policy of shielding the vulnerable is working.

Please do not spoil it now.

If you are desperate to exercise,

then be very careful.

Make sure you exercise and not socialise.

Only go out with members of your household.

Do not meet friends or family along the way.

And again maintain social distancing.


Because COVID-19 is still out there.

Waiting to pounce.

It will hit the most vulnerable hardest.

So, please understand that this is far from over.

We have simply moved to a new phase in the war.

Our aim now is to search, find and destroy.

Our strategy to test, track and isolate.

That is how we kill the enemy.

So follow the rules.

This is now more important than ever

as we lighten the lockdown.

If the rules are abused,

we may need to tighten up again.


The world we left behind in March is now a distant memory.

And one we may never return to.

The Chief Minister spoke of a new normal yesterday.

Life after COVID-19 will indeed be very different.

We will need to change.

We will need to adapt to a new reality.

With new rules.

And a new way of doing things.

But we,

the people of this Rock know exactly what it means.

We have been there before.

Over many centuries

we have learnt to adjust to new situations;

we have thrived after each and every crisis;

we have been versatile and nimble enough to stay ahead of the game;

and we have made a success of change.

Where others fear change we have learnt to embrace it.


the challenge today is a very different one.

The threat today is a threat to life itself.

But you have the power to defeat this virus.

You know what you have to do.

You also know what you must not do.


listen to what we say.

Be careful.

And stay safe.



Before passing on to my friend and colleague the Minister for Business, Tourism and Transport Vijay Daryanani, let me repeat our public health advice once again.


  1. Listen and act on the advice of our public health experts.


  1. When you sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue and then bin it.


  1. Wash your hands regularly for at least twenty seconds.


  1. Do not visit anyone over 70.


  1. If you are over 70 or vulnerable please stay at home.


  1. If you need medical advice call 111.


  1. If you have any other question call 200 41818.


  1. And for emergencies, call 190 or 199 as usual.


  1. Stay home, Stay Alive.


I now pass you on to Minister Daryanani.


Any questions.


  • Tomorrow the


Minister for Health Paul Balban and the


Acting Medical Director Dr Krish Rawal


Will be here to address you and answer questions.


  • Remember – Follow Public Health advice.