HM Government of Gibraltar has announced simplified rules for COVID-19 self-isolation, on the advice of the Director of Public Health and the COVID-19 Strategic Coordination Group.
The rules will affect close contacts of positive cases, and will be different depending on vaccination status. The new rules will come into effect at 00:01am on Thursday 30th September 2021.
If you test positive for COVID-19 you still need to self-isolate for 10 days and should follow the instructions and advice of the Contact Tracing Bureau.
The new rules affect close contacts of someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
1. Close contacts (including household contacts) who are fully vaccinated or have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days and are over 16 years old do not need to self-isolate, unless told otherwise by the CTB. If you work in close proximity to vulnerable groups, you should inform the CTB and your employer and you will be risk-assessed on an individual basis.
2. Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated and have not had COVID-19 within the last 90 days, and are over 18 years old need to self-isolate for 10 days.
3. Close contacts who are under the age of 18 and are in full time education in Gibraltar do not need to self-isolate whether they are fully vaccinated or not. They will not need to wear a mask in school. There is epidemiological evidence that schools and college are not major vectors for COVID-19 transmission at present. This decision has been taken under the advice of the Director of Public Health and with the agreement of Education professionals that the need to avoid further disruption to pupils’ education outweighs the potential for transmission in educational settings.
Patients who are awaiting surgery or planned admission to hospital should strictly follow the guidance and instructions of their healthcare providers. You will need to self-isolate before surgery or hospital admission. If you have any concerns or develop symptoms in this time, call 111 immediately.
If you are a COVID-19 close contact and do not need to self-isolate, the CTB will instruct you to:
• Wear a mask when out in public and at work
• Try to minimise your social contacts, especially with vulnerable or unvaccinated people
• Call 111, take a test and self-isolate immediately if you develop symptoms
This policy will be kept under continuous review and is subject to change at the advice of Public Health professionals.
The Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Carter, said: ‘This relaxation of the self-isolation requirements for close contacts of positive cases comes at a time when a large proportion of Gibraltar’s resident and working population are fully vaccinated, and our hospital and healthcare capacity is stable. The new simplified rules do away with concepts of casual contacts and hybrid isolation, and will significantly ease the pressure on the Contact Tracing Bureau, which will allow them to focus their resources on the most effective means of tracking the virus and reducing its transmission. It is vitally important that anyone who is contacted by the CTB follows their instructions and advice, and effective mask wearing will be a key aspect of this strategy.’
The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said: ‘This change to the requirements for self-isolation for close contacts will significantly reduce disruption to people’s lives, whilst keeping the risk of transmission reasonably low. This is a positive announcement for children in education and their teachers, for workers and employers, and for families. COVID-19 is still all around us, and this is an important next step in our ability to live with the virus in the ‘new normal’. For this to be effective, we have to continue to work together and wear masks properly when they are needed, be careful about who we have contact with and call 111 at the first sign of symptoms, however mild.’