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Gibraltar rehearses the new normal with maskless rides


After eliminating the curfew, it allows to go out without a mask as it already has almost 80% of the population immunized

Gibraltar rehearses the new normal with maskless rides// Photo: EFE
With almost 80% of the population already immunized, Gibraltar is one of the first territories in the world to be able to rehearse a certain return to normality and to leave restrictions behind. After eliminating the curfew, as of this Sunday it allows walking without a mask.

It is one more step in ‘Operation Freedom’, as the British colony government has baptized the process that began with the vaccination against Covid-19 and which now allows the British colony, with 34,000 inhabitants, to take steps towards normal.

Since last midnight, the use of the mask is no longer mandatory in open spaces from Calle Real (Main Street), the main one going to El Pen, and from the rest of the streets of the urban center.

These streets, the busiest and where shops are concentrated, were the only ones that until this Sunday maintained the mandatory use of masks to walk through them, since from March 1 it was allowed that in the rest, with less influx of people, you could circulate with your face uncovered.

The “liberation” from the use of masks is limited to outdoor spaces, as its use is still mandatory in closed public spaces, in shops and in public transport.

“Spring of hope”

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“We are leaving our deadliest winter behind and welcoming the spring of hope. The global pandemic is not quite over yet and we must continue to move cautiously to safeguard the incredible progress made in the weeks and months to come,” the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, last Wednesday when announcing the new relaxations in the Pen, which has counted 94 deaths during the pandemic.

This first day without masks in Gibraltar, in any case, has not altered the routines of the “llanitos” and the usual tranquility of its main streets on holidays.

The measure also coincides with the beginning of Psach (the Hebrew Passover) and Holy Week, celebrated by many members of the Gibraltarian community.

The mandatory end of the mask is the most anticipated measure applied in recent days in the de-escalation that Gibraltar lives, where on Thursday the curfew was lifted. From that same day, restaurants can open until two in the morning.

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The Minister of Civil Contingencies, Samantha Sacramento, explained that “the success” of the vaccination program in the colony and the monitoring of prevention regulations by the community, has allowed Gibraltar to move faster in its fight against the coronavirus.

This Sunday it has been just a week that the Sant Bernard hospital has not had patients admitted for Covid-19. There are also no infections in homes for the elderly.

Only 10 active cases

As of March 28, official data show thatThere were barely 10 active cases in Gibraltar, of which eight corresponded to local residents and the other two to people passing through the Pen, such as those belonging to aircraft or boat crews or tourists.

But the main responsible for this relaxation of measures is the high rate of vaccination. Of the nearly 34,000 Gibraltarian inhabitants, 27,662 have received the two doses that are considered to achieve immunity. Another 3,432 have received the first dose.

Its “floating” population, Gibraltar’s nearly 15,000 cross-border workers, of which more than 9,000 are Spanish, is also moving towards immunity.

According to sources from the Pen, 2,371 of them have already received the two doses and 4,107 only the first. That almost 80% immunization already achieved in Gibraltar contrasts with 5.3% of the neighboring province of Cdiz, according to the data of this last Friday of the Junta de Andaluca.

On the other side of the Gate, the Minister of Health and Families, Jess Aguirre, requested a more exhaustive control of the borders.

The eight municipalities of the Cadiz region of Campo de Gibraltar, the closest to the Pen, are in alert level 2 and they maintain the restrictions of capacity and hours, as well as the obligatory use of the mask and the curfew at 23.00 imposed by the autonomous health authorities. According to the figures of the Board, last Friday there were 1,052 active cases in the region.

Unlike its neighbors, Gibraltar is moving towards a normality to which, according to Picardo, the recovery of other freedoms, such as the right to assembly, will soon be added. “We will do it following public health advice and in a safe and prudent manner,” he said.

According to the criteria of

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