23rd February 2021, 11:59
The Gibraltar Health Authority has reduced the alert and readiness status of all GHA sites to AMBER / SUBSTANTIAL, following almost 8 weeks of Red or Black readiness alert. This relaxation of the alert and readiness states of the health authority is in response to the falling numbers of cases of COVID-19 in the community and the low numbers of admissions to the hospital.
An AMBER operational status means that some priority surgeries, interventions and investigations can be restarted once again. Restrictions to some elective surgeries and outpatient activity remain for the time being but will be reviewed regularly with a view to restarting these as soon as possible.
The amber threat level means that annual leave for GHA staff can now be allowed, allowing hard working and exhausted staff some time to recover and spend time with family.
While a SUBSTANTIAL threat level would ordinarily allow for a return of visitors to GHA sites, the decision has been made to remain closed to visitors for at least the next two weeks, with a review on 1 March 2021. This is to allow time to observe any increase or spike in cases now that schools have reopened and some community spread of the COVID-19 virus is expected.
Dr Krishna Rawal, Acting Medical Director says this relaxation must be carefully managed to ensure that the GHA slowly restarts services while keeping a very close eye on positive cases in the community and admissions to hospital.
And Health Minister Samantha Sacramento has described the relaxation as a difficult and fine balance between unlocking to allow patients back in to GHA services while also maintaining a cautious approach and not acting too soon while there are still cases in the community.