January 07, 2022
HMGoG, in coordination with the Director of Public Health, has considered the possibility of making lateral flow tests available to the public for at-home testing. On the advice of the Director of Public Health, this measure will not be introduced in Gibraltar for the time being and COVID-19 tests will continue to be available only via the GHA or private clinics (e.g. for organisational testing).
Gibraltar’s successful control of the virus to date has been a result of our existing strategy of supervised testing. Ensuring that tests are done by trained medical professionals provide quality assurance of the test and the results. Furthermore, keeping testing under the remit of the GHA ensures that the Director of Public Health is able to maintain epidemiological control over Gibraltar’s case incidence and transmission rates.
Supervised testing, alongside the ongoing booster vaccination programme, are currently preventing our case numbers from increasing exponentially. Gibraltar is also demonstrating a great deal of community responsibility in reporting for testing, and this is evident in the very high volumes of calls to 111 and high attendance rates at the Mid-Town facility. Maintaining this approach, in addition to the tried and tested methods of reducing transmission like reducing social mixing, wearing masks and increased hand washing, are the best ways to keep the virus under control in Gibraltar.
In Gibraltar, unlike in larger countries with larger populations and more remote areas, COVID-19 tests at the Mid-Town facility are accessible to all. The GHA is currently working to increase Gibraltar’s capacity to conduct supervised lateral flow testing in order to meet rising demand. There is, therefore, currently no justifiable benefit to public lateral flow testing that outweighs the risk to public health of such a strategy.
This decision may be reviewed as appropriate.