Gibraltar Cultural Services confirms that the public performances and events scheduled for tomorrow’s World Book Day Celebrations at the John Mackintosh Hall have been cancelled.

This includes the performances by The White Light Company and JF Dance as well as the Story Telling sessions at the Library scheduled as from 4.30pm.

This follows the recommendation by the Director of Public Health and the COVID-19 Co-ordinating Group, that public gatherings and events where crowds of adults, especially of senior citizens, might congregate should be discouraged.

GCS will continue to host a number of school visits during the day and will be offering a variety of fun and educational activities for the pupils. This year’s theme is Aladdin, taken from the ‘One Thousand and One Nights/Arabian Nights’, a collection of stories that includes the adventures of Sinbad the Sailor, Shahrazad and Ali Baba, among others.

There will be no changes to the activities within the schools, which will continue as planned.

All Government events are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with the situation monitored daily as it develops. A spokesperson for the Govt said that they understand that this may be inconvenient and frustrating but their main concern and focus is to safeguard the wellbeing of the community.

The Government would like to remind the public that it is confident that Gibraltar is as ready as possible for the impact of the virus.

The Government continues to take the advice of our Public Health professionals and the situation is under constant review.

'The best thing that everyone can do to protect themselves and their loved ones is to wash hands regularly and well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is also a good idea not to shake hands, hug or give kisses when greeting colleagues, friends and relatives for the time being, especially if they are over 70. We know that the elderly and people with chronic health conditions are the most vulnerable, so we must all do our part to keep ourselves and our loved ones out of harm’s way.

If you do not feel well, please do not go to the Primary Care Centre or to St Bernard’s Hospital as this puts you and others at greater risk. Go home, avoid public transport and call 111 as soon as you can to tell us about your symptoms.

For almost 90% of people, the symptoms will be very mild and most people who contract the virus will be able to recover well and quickly at home. 99% of people will likely fully recover. The focus now is to increase the distance between people in order to try to slow the spread as much as possible, and to take extra care with older and vulnerable friends and relatives. Think twice before you pay them a visit and strongly consider whether you could phone or video call them instead.'

Please look to official sources for advice, particularly

• PROTECT your loved ones – call, don’t visit

• WASH your hands

• CALL 111 if you feel unwell