Masks back in force at Gibraltar health facilities and elderly people’s homes to stop disease spread

MASKS are back in force at Gibraltar’s health facilities and elderly people’s homes to stop the spread of seasonal flu, COVID-19 and other diseases.

The Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) will now enforce the mask rule for all areas of the hospital, primary care centre (PCC) and Elderly Residential Services (ERS) homes.

In a statement, the GHA said the reason for the move was an increase of winter viruses like ‘Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), seasonal influenza, COVID-19 and Group A Streptococcus (GAS)’.

Masks would ‘protect staff, patients and visitors’, the statement said.

The GHA asked the public not to visit family and friends at hospital wards and elderly homes if they had flu or cold symptoms.

People who want flu protection can walk in and get the vaccine at the PCC or arrange an appointment beforehand.

GHA Director General Patrick Geoghegan said the mask requirement was ‘a temporary measure’ that ‘will be kept under review’.

Last September, GHA bosses made mask optional in non-clinical areas.

“When presentations of winter infections reduce, the requirements will be rolled back again,” Geoghegan added.

“The GHA appreciates the support of our staff, our patients and our visitors in working with us to keep our patients protected and safe.”

Both the RSV virus and GAS bacteria are spreading rapidly among children in the UK, with which Gibraltar has ample contact.

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