Economy Coronavirus live news: South Korea to close bars and clubs amid fourth wave fears – The Guardian
April 9, 2021
Gibraltar has become one of the first places in the world to vaccinate the bulk of its adult population against Covid-19, allowing virus restrictions to be lifted and life to almost return to normal.
AFP report that since the end of March, masks are only required in enclosed public spaces, shops and on public transport. And a curfew between midnight and 5am was also lifted, boosting business at bars and restaurants, which only reopened on 1 March after months of restrictions.
Popular spots are once again buzzing with people enjoying a meal or a drink. Gino Jimenez, the chairman of the Gibraltar Catering Association who also runs a popular eatery, said it was “especially gratifying” to see vulnerable seniors finally “out of their homes and safe”.
People walk without wearing face masks in Gibraltar. Photograph: Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images
Gibraltar chief minister Fabian Picardo announced Thursday that rules restricting gatherings to no more than 16 people will be eliminated as of 16 April. And as of Monday there will no longer be any limit on the numbers who can sit together at a bar or restaurant.
In Gibraltar, with a population of 34,000, the pandemic claimed 94 lives, most this January and February, and infected nearly 4,300 residents. But thanks to the vaccine drive, there have been no virus-related hospitalisations for more than two weeks
A British police officer talks on the phone without a protective face mask in Gibraltar. Photograph: Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images
Since “Operation Freedom” began in January, Gibraltar has fully inoculated 85% of the population. “It is a huge relief,” health minister Samantha Sacramento told AFP at her office atop the only hospital. She credits the enclave’s small size and a steady supply of vaccines – Pfizer and AstraZeneca – for the swift rollout.
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“During the first weeks, we were vaccinating seven days a week. It was literally a conveyer belt,” said Sacramento, the only woman in Gibraltar’s cabinet. Frontline hospital staff and elderly care home residents and workers were the first in line.
Those who receive both doses of the jab are issued with a vaccination card that can be used to attend mass events or to travel. Last week Gibraltar’s Victoria Stadium welcomed 600 fully vaccinated people for the territory’s World Cup football qualifier against the Netherlands.
The crowd during the World Cup qualifying match between Gibraltar and the Netherlands. Photograph: Hollandse Hoogte/REX/Shutterstock
And on 27 March, 500 spectators watched a top heavyweight boxing match at Gibraltar’s Europa Sports Complex. In both cases, fans also had to test negative on the day of the event.
Rafael Cordon, a 63-year-old chef who commutes daily to work in the British territory from the Spanish town of San Roque said he was grateful to Gibraltar for being able to get fully vaccinated so quickly. He said there was now a big contrast between both places.
Being in Spain, where mask-wearing in public is compulsory and night curfews are in place, is “like being inside a fishbowl where your movements are limited,” he said. “Then you cross over to this side and it is like going from one world to another. This is an oasis right now.”
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