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28th March 2020, 15:36

Government declares a major incident after number of confirmed Covid-19 cases almost doubled on Friday

The Government declares a “major incident” due to the growing number of Covid-19 cases and the expectation that the upward trend will continue. GBC understands the move will give it greater flexibility in how to deploy public sector personnel and resources; it could mean that key GHA staff are on call 24/7 and could be redeployed to other departments as required.

On Friday, the number of active cases jumped from 22 to 41. Considering that so far the GHA’s testing has been focused on suspected cases and that, as things stood on Friday, 137 results were pending, the number of active cases is set to climb further.

The Director of Public Health Dr Sohail Bhatti has previously said that as little as 20% of people contracting Covid-19 would experience symptoms and only a fraction of these are likely to require help in hospital. But as the total number of cases increases, so does the likelihood of some of them requiring medical care at St. Bernard’s Hospital. The GHA has now effectively put itself on a heightened state of readiness in anticipation of what its professionals are calling “the surge”.

GBC understands this could be the first time a “major incident” is declared, giving some indication of the challenges facing the public sector, and in particular health care workers, in the coming days and weeks.

Gold, silver & bronze command structures will be put in place. The Chief Minister will confirm more details in over the next few days.