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22nd March 2020, 16:43

Covid 19 - Gibraltar to go into lockdown as from midnight on Tuesday

Gibraltar will go into lockdown at zero hours on Tuesday in order to combat the spread of Covid-19, of which there are now 15 reported cases locally. This was announced by the Chief Minister at a press conference on Sunday afternoon. The measures will see restrictions on movement for individuals, and the majority of shops closed. People will be allowed to leave their homes only for essential work, to buy essentials, and for brief exercise, as long as they maintain their distance from others. The measures will be reviewed every 48 hours.

The lockdown will be enforced by the Royal Gibraltar Police, who have been given new powers by regulations published by the Government. They can send people to their homes, and arrest them for obstruction of police if they refuse.

Supermarkets, grocery shops, chemists and pharmacies will remain open. Restaurants can continue to provide takeaway and home delivery services. But Gyms will close, as will construction sites unless they have a special permit issued by the Chief Technical Officer.

The move comes amid fears that cases of Covid-19 will spike in Gibraltar in the coming days. Five new cases have been confirmed overnight, bringing the total up to 15, with two hospital admissions.

The regulations have a time limit of 30 days, and will be reviewed every 48 hours to ensure they are still necessary.

People will continue to be allowed to go to work, but the Chief Minister urged those who could to work from home, and only leave the house if absolutely necessary.

The Chief Minister said this had been the hardest decision of his political career so far, and had consulted the Attorney General to ensure the measures did not violate the constitution.

Asked by GBC, Fabian Picardo categorically said the decision to lock down had not been taken as as result of his conversation with the Spanish Minister for the Interior, Fernando Grande Marlaska last night. He said this had been a conversation about cooperation, and ensuring the border remains fluid.