SHARE
COPY LINK

GIBRALTAR

Gibraltar in new lockdown as coronavirus cases soar

Gibraltar on Saturday imposed a second lockdown to slow the soaring rate of coronavirus cases, just days after a landmark deal to ensure post-Brexit fluidity along its border with Spain.

Gibraltar in new lockdown as coronavirus cases soar
People walk in a street of Gibraltar, January 2020. AFP

The measure, beginning at 10:00 pm (2100 GMT) Saturday, will remain in force for 14 days meaning Gibraltar's 34,000 residents can only leave home for essential shopping, to work, exercise or for medical reasons.

Over the past month, the number of cases in this tiny British enclave at the southern tip of Spain has more than doubled, rising to 2,304, up from 1,035 cases on December 2, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said.

“The numbers of new infections with COVID-19 in our community are remarkably high and concerning,” he told a news conference, saying the virus was spreading “more quickly than we can control it”.

Officials are concerned that the soaring rate of infections may be linked to the new coronavirus variant which emerged in the UK in November although so far, Gibraltar has only confirmed one such case.

“The behaviour of the virus with such massive infectivity suggests that we are seeing the new, more infectious variant at play here. But we cannot confirm that genetically,” Picardo said.

READ ALSO: Where in Spain has new British variant of coronavirus been detected?

Gibraltar only registered its first death from Covid-19 on November 11, but that figure has now risen to seven.

Despite its proximity to hard-hit Spain, which has counted nearly 2 million cases and over 50,000 deaths, Gibraltar has not imposed any restrictions on its border which is crossed daily by 15,000 workers.

Although the frontier will remain open, movement will be restricted to essential work or medical reasons.

Gibraltar is set to roll out its vaccination programme on January 9 using the Pfizer vaccine.

The lockdown came two days after London and Madrid reached an agreement that will see Gibraltar included in the European Schengen zone to keep movement fluid on its border in a landmark deal just hours shy of the final Brexit deadline.

READ ALSO: 'Let's see how it goes': Gibraltarians wary but relieved after deal

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

TRAVEL NEWS

FACT CHECK: Do you still need Covid documents to travel to Spain?

There has been some confusion in the Spanish and English-language press following the announcement this week that Spain has scrapped its Covid health travel form. Here’s what Brits, Americans and other international travellers need to know about Spain’s existing travel restrictions. 

FACT CHECK: Do you still need Covid documents to travel to Spain?

(Scroll down to the bottom if you want the quick answer).

In recent days, Spanish authorities have made two important announcements regarding the country’s Covid-19 entry rules for foreigners. 

Firstly, Spain extended until November 15th the requirement that non-EU visitors must show a Covid-19 vaccination, test or recovery certificate to enter the country. 

A few days later, the Spanish government announced it would no longer require any international travellers to fill in and show its SpTH health control form.

For those who are unfamiliar with Spain’s complex Covid travel rules, the two changes seemed to contradict each other, or suggest that Spain had U-turned on its decision. 

Indeed, UK newspapers such as The Independent wrongly ran with “Spain finally drops all Covid travel restrictions”, a headline it has since amended. 

Even Spain’s national broadcaster RTVE stated that Spain had ditched the Covid passport requirement.

Both these statements are incorrect.

To clarify, a Covid-19 certificate or passport is one document, and Spain’s health control form is another; they are not the same. 

A Covid-19 certificate is issued by authorities in the country where you were vaccinated or tested, whereas the SpTH form was issued by Spanish authorities.

In any case, the SpTH health control form is now officially not required and will not have to be completed by any international traveller arriving in Spain by air or sea.

The discontinuation of this travel form means that non-EU tourists such as Americans, Australians and Canadians and all other non-EU travellers no longer have to complete this step before arrival in Spain.

For British tourists visiting Spain nothing changes in this regard as the UK has long been on the list of 48 non-EU countries with a certificate equivalency deal with the EU, which exempted their nationals from having to fill in Spain’s health control form. 

Now for the other important matter. 

Non-EU tourists visiting Spain still need to show proof of vaccination, testing or recovery to visit Spain. 

It applies to all non-EU travellers over the age of 12, but it does not apply to EU citizens or third-country nationals who reside in the EU.

This long-standing Covid travel rule remains in place until at least November 15th 2022.

There was no U-turn in this regard as there is no mention of the Covid-19 passport or certificate being ditched in the Spanish state bulletin (BOE) that focused on the cancellation of the SpTH form. 

Therefore, non-EU tourists such as Britons, Americans, Australians, Canadians or New Zealanders still have to show one of three documents to be able to enter Spain. These are: 

  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate –  Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements. If more than 270 days have passed since your initial vaccination, you need to show proof of a booster shot.
  • A negative Covid-19 test – This should be either a PCR taken within 72 hours prior of departure or an antigen test, taken within 24 hours prior of departure. 
  • A recovery certificate –  This must be dated within the last six months. You can use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid-19 status.

Face masks are also still required on planes which are bound for Spain, but you don’t have to wear one at the airport.

SHOW COMMENTS