The Director of Public Health has advised the Government to reduce the requirement for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate to 7 days starting from the day of the original positive PCR test, with specific conditions attached.
This came into effect on Saturday 15th January.
Individuals who are asymptomatic and receive two negative Lateral Flow Test results on day 6 and day 7 consecutively will be able to stop self-isolation after receiving a negative day 7 result.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will receive an SMS message informing them of their appointment for a day 6 lateral flow test. Test results will also be provided by SMS message. Individuals who test negative on their day 6 test will receive further instructions to attend for a test on day 7.
Tests will be conducted at the Rapid Test Facility outside Gibraltar International Airport between 7:30am and 10:00am.
The day 6 and day 7 testing will apply if the individual (aged 5 or over) does not have any symptoms on the day of their test. The following process will apply:
- Take a lateral flow test on day 6 and continue to self-isolate;
- If day 6 test is negative, you will receive an SMS with an appointment to take another lateral flow test on day 7. This must be at least 24 hours after the last one on day 6;
- Continue to self-isolate until a negative result for the day 7 test is received;
- If day 7 test is negative, the individual may leave self-isolation but is required to wear a mask when out of the house for the next 3 days;
- If day 6 or 7 test result is positive, the individual must complete a full 10 days of self- isolation starting from the day of the original positive PCR test and the next 10 full days.
Further information (FAQs) can be found at www.covid.gi
At the appointment, individuals will be required to show their GHA card number and proof of ID. When attending the Rapid Test Facility masks are required at all times from leaving the place of residence and those to be tested must be free of symptoms. Anyone experiencing symptoms on day 6 should not attend the Rapid Test Facility and instead call 111 for advice.
There is no change to the guidance for close contacts. Unvaccinated contacts of positive COVID-19 cases are still required to self-isolate for 10 full days after their date of exposure to the virus.
Individuals who leave self-isolation on or after day 7 are strongly advised to limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces until at least day 10 since testing positive.
'These conditions are vital to the effectiveness of this policy and must be strictly adhered to. They are important measures to mitigate the risk of continued virus shedding and transmission to others. Failure to comply will be in breach of the regulations and may lead to a summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.'
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo, said: ‘This reduction in self-isolation requirements for COVID-19 positive individuals follows the best available Public Health advice and the implementation of similar policies in the UK and elsewhere. As we learn to live with the virus, it is an important step to keeping businesses and workplaces on track and ensuring the safe and effective delivery of public services.
‘It is not, however, an excuse to become complacent. Reducing the self-isolation period for positive cases means it is now more important than ever to strictly follow the rules. Failure to do so will mean a fixed penalty notice for the individual, and more transmission and a longer wave of infections for the rest of us.
‘As the current numbers demonstrate, COVID-19 is still all around us. If you haven’t already, please take up the offer of a vaccine or a booster. This is still the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from contracting COVID in the first place. Everyone who develops symptoms needs to call 111 immediately to arrange a test. If you test positive, you need to self-isolate immediately and wait for the CTB to call you with further instructions. Whilst we all hope that the worst is behind us, the pandemic is not over yet.’