Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Gibraltar extends COVID-19-related restrictions through at least May 22. Travel and business disruptions to continue.

This alert affects Gibraltar

This alert began 24 Apr 2020 15:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Territory-wide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 22
  • Impact: Business disruptions, public transport reductions, increased security

Summary
Authorities have announced that current restrictions, introduced March 24 to help reduce the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), are to be extended until May 22.

Residents are currently only permitted to leave their homes for work purposes, to obtain essential supplies, or for brief periods of exercise. People have been requested to work from home where possible and employers are required to follow strict social distancing guidelines in the workplace. People are not permitted to gather in public, unless with members of the same household. Tighter restrictions are in place for those over the age of 70.

Supermarkets, grocery stores, and pharmacies remain open, though access to some premises may require additional time as management adheres to the distancing guidelines. Restaurants are closed, though they are permitted to provide a takeaway service. Schools remain open for children of essential workers, though other public facilities, including leisure centers, are closed.

The land border with Spain is currently open for essential crossborder workers. Gibraltar International Airport (GIB) is operational for British Airways (BA) flights to London, UK, though it is operating a greatly reduced schedule. Travelers who have recently visited several locations, including Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, are required to self-isolate on arrival for a minimum of 14 days.

Background and Analysis
The measures are similar to actions taken by other European governments in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by official health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Arrive at the airport early to prevent your seat being reallocated to a standby passenger. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Gibraltar government COVID-19 portal: www.gibraltar.gov.gi

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int