Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Gibraltar has vaccinated most of its adults. It’s like that now


(CNN) – People sipping glasses of wine in bars and restaurants. Fans watching live football and boxing matches. As summer draws to a close, life has become almost normal in a small area in southern Europe – and there is a very good reason.

Almost everyone is vaccinated.

Gibraltar, a British diaspora that borders Spain to the point where North Africa and Europe form the gateway to the Mediterranean, is one of the most adult-populated countries in the world.

Exactly three months after this area, known as a large toothed rock, went into its second total lockdown, more than 90% of adults received their first dose and would soon receive their second.

As a result, while most people in Europe are facing new restrictions and conflicts with their own vaccination rollout, the rock is beginning to unlock.

In downtown, friendship groups can be seen harmonizing over coffee. There are lively birthday brunches with toast for a better year. And in the Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowd, there is the familiar hum of the Mass.

Signage warnings have been given for people to wear masks. Main Street even hosted the return of the Gibraltar Re-Enemy Association’s popular march, complete with red and white historic uniforms, vibrant drums and Napoleonic oysters.

The curfew has also been lifted from midnight to 5 am, allowing establishments to remain open until 2 am, with cafes, bars and restaurants once again full of people, no doubt lost Ready for the time.

Bars and restaurants can serve alcohol but consumption in public places away from these establishments is still not allowed between 7pm and 8pm

People are again enjoying themselves in cafes and bars.

Rochelle Beighton / CNN

Popular social spots Chatham Counterguard and Ocean Village Marina have recaptured some of the social buzz that was already epidemic as a drink for people.

Ian Balentine, who runs Gibraltar’s Timeout Cafe and The Bake and Take Bakery, has also seen a return to business since the ban was lifted last month.

“The three-month lockdown was a little stress test, but now because people think we’re safer elsewhere in the world, they’re slowly starting to come out again,” he says.

Ballantine, who is also a member of the Gibraltar Catering Association and himself experiences an eight-week bout of Kovid, credits the government’s vaccine rollout with restoring public confidence in eating out again.

“I am fortunate that none of my employees have received a Kovid and are now undergoing vaccinations, which will reassure returning customers as well.”

Signs of the post-Kovid era

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Cafe owner Ian Ballantine says customers are returning because they feel safe.

Rochelle Beighton / CNN

Dubbed “Operational independence“By Health Minister Samantha Sacramento, Gibraltar’s road to normality began in early March and reached an important milestone last weekend, when after six long months Masks were no longer needed When outside of non-commercial areas – they are now only required for closed public places, shops and public transport.

This is being seen as an expectation at the end of coronovirus in Gibraltar, with 4,274 cases reported and 94 deaths among a population of 34,000 inhabitants.

While an estimated 3% of residents chose not to take the jab, the Gibraltar Health Authority’s immunization programs went ahead of schedule for the steady shipment of Pfizer and BioNotech vaccines from the mainstream UK.

The region’s tight-knit community aided by the vaccine rollout, with news of a rapid outbreak around the Rock of, by word of mouth and a popular Facebook group titled Speak Freely Gibraltar.

Non-Gibraltarians and essential workers are also included in Gibraltar’s immunization program.

Clara Louise Manzano, a frontline activist from San Roque in Spain, says she is grateful to have been vaccinated for Gibraltar so soon.

“I see a big contrast between the two places,” she says. “Initially it was a shock in and out of the Frontier to see people with no masks and low restrictions. Now, I drive through Spain with my mask and once I’m in Gibraltar I would shut it down Am. ”

back to business

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Masks are not required on the street in the main shopping areas.

Rochelle Beighton / CNN

The new independence includes the reopening of the border into Spain, a welcome respite for many left-sense claustrophobic by the second lockdown that forbids most travel beyond the 2.6-square-mile (6.8-kilometer square) area of ​​Gibraltar.

Estate manager Sarah Azzopardi, coffee with a group of friends, praises the vaccination strategy that has allowed Gibraltar to relax sanctions sooner than in many other countries.

“I think we’re one of the lucky ones because we’re ahead of time,” she says. “Now that we can go to Spain and do things that we couldn’t do before, I feel much less claustrophobic. Because in Gibb, it’s such a small place and it’s very easy to feel trapped. “

More is expected to come. Those who have received both doses of the vaccine have been issued a vaccination card – a document that is expected to allow residents to travel further as the year progresses.

Five hundred spectators, Each was tested for Kovid-19 Prior to the event, British heavyweight fighter Dillian White was able to claim victory over Alexander Povetkin of Russia at the Europa Sports Complex in Gibraltar.

The battle, called Rumble on the Rock, was originally scheduled to take place at Matchroom Headquarters, a location in southeastern England, but turned into Gibraltar due to its Kovid-19 safe environment.

Football fans were allowed to watch the match on Tuesday, starting with Gibraltar’s World Cup qualifier match against the Netherlands.

Victoria Stadium welcomed 600 participants who had previously received two doses of the vaccine and tested negative for the virus match day.

The game was being used as a pilot case study by the Government of Gibraltar to assess future events in order to return to normality in the region.

Not all smooth sailing

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Expectations for a normal summer in Gibraltar are high.

Rochelle Beighton / CNN

Although the atmosphere has returned to rock and locals look forward to a Kovid-free summer, it has not always been smooth sailing.

For most epidemics, coronovirus infection in Gibraltar was relatively low compared to the rest of the world. But matters increased sharply when summer 2020 ended and air travel remained open.

In one of the harshest winters in Gibraltarian history, the community had lost 84 lives in a span of 60 days.

Gibraltar responded to the epidemic with First lockdown As of March 22, 2020 and June 1, three stages of its unlocking process were underway.
During this time, the government launched free Kovid-19 test facilities around the rock. Swabbing station Anyone over the age of 16 was set up with a valid local health authority card to test there and then without any appointment.
The drive-in Kovid-19 test facility was launched at Midtown Coach Park and a contact tracing program was established with the introduction of its app. Kovid defeated Gibraltar.

Gibraltar’s diligence has paid off throughout the epidemic as the number of active coronavirus cases is 10 and there are currently no Covid-19 patients at St. Bernard’s Hospital.

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