As we approach the festive period and as we see an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, Government advises everyone to take a pre-cautionary approach when arranging, attending and hosting events.
The vaccine is preventing against the majority of hospitalisations and severe disease. However, the evidence obtained shows that of the positive cases we have had over the last 3 weeks, less than 5% were in individuals with no symptoms, i.e. the majority had Covid symptoms. Members of the public are therefore urged not to attend events or functions if they have any COVID symptoms, even mild ones.
The Director for Public Health has provided reviewed guidance in order to support and reduce the uncertainty for those hosting private events and functions.
Ventilation and duration of contact are the two main factors that determine the risk of COVID-19 infection. The main concern is related to crowded indoor events, which are assessed to be of a higher risk. As such, the Director of Public Health strongly advises the public to consider limiting numbers appropriate to the venue and adopting a precautionary approach this side of the festive period.
When holding a private event, organisers should carry out a risk assessment which captures the following:
- The current epidemiological situation
- The number of people attending
- The vaccination status of attendees
- Format of the event
Further guidance can be found here
The Director of Public Health will continue to review the epidemical situation and the guidance provided could be amended based on the circumstances faced. As the booster programme continues to be rolled out it is expected that Gibraltar will see a decrease in the number of positive cases, which might allow this guidance to be further reviewed.
The Director for Public Health, Helen Carter, said: “Please consider the guidance provided when holding or attending an event. It is important that we all work together in trying to minimise the impact of the pandemic in the build-up and during the festive period, whilst still allowing people to enjoy themselves. Please help to limit the impact of the pandemic in our community. When offered the booster, please take up the offer”.
The Chief Minister said: “We want to avoid having to provide for any lock down in the coming weeks and months. To do that, we need the support of each member of the community. We really need to see people following guidance and in particular we need people to take up the offer of the Booster Jab as soon as they are offered it. People can see the numbers of cases rising throughout Europe and lockdowns taking effect throughout the continent. Here although cases are rising, hospitalisations are currently low. We need to keep it that way, but if numbers continue to rise exponentially, we may see numbers in hospital grow too. I genuinely believe these are the last throes of the pandemic, but it will not be over completely for some time now and we cannot relax completely until then. I therefore implore the public to follow the advice from Public Health Gibraltar.”