Government officials in the small British territory of Gibraltar, one of the most vaccinated parts of the world, have announced that official Christmas celebrations are being canceled this year due to an increase in COVID infections.
What does “the most vaccinated place on Earth,” as it’s often referred to, look like? It’s when 100 percent of eligible citizens have been inoculated against the coronavirus.
Every adult in the territory, which has a population of about 34,000, has been vaccinated against COVID since March, according to health officials. One report actually puts the area’s vaccination rate at above 100 percent.
“More than 118% of Gibraltar’s population are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with this figure stretching beyond 100% due to doses given to Spaniards who cross the border to work or visit the territory every day,” eTurboNews reported.
Despite Christmas being five weeks away, and despite the high vaccine rate, officials in the Mediterranean territory of roughly 2.6 square miles are cautioning people against holding Christmas gatherings and celebrations.
“The steady increase in active cases of COVID-19 that Gibraltar experienced throughout October has continued into November, and has become even more exponential in the last few days,” a government advisory announced last week. “This means that it is essential that the public conduct themselves in a cautious and sensible manner bearing in mind that we are still in a global pandemic and that people are losing their lives every day all over the world.
“The public are urged to avoid large gatherings, to wear a mask where prescribed by law or when they feel uncomfortable and to maintain a prudent social distance from other people.”
Government officials said there were 359 active cases with five people hospitalized because of COVID. They attributed a high rate of testing for catching the reported cases.
Officials said in order to keep people safe from infections, they would lead by example and cancel official holiday celebrations.
Is it time for us to accept COVID as a regular part of life?
“Given the exponential rise in the number of cases, the Government, for example, intends to cancel a number of its own functions including official Christmas parties, official receptions and similar gatherings,” the advisory stated. “The public, at this stage, are ultimately called upon to exercise their own judgement in this respect bearing in mind the current advice given.
“The Government strongly advises against any large informal social events, parties or receptions being held over at least the next four weeks while the vaccine booster programme is rolled out. It will also become necessary at this point to make sure that the use of official premises is carefully scrutinised and where necessary events are postponed to a later date.”
Health Minister Samantha Sacramento cited the increase in cases for the recommendation for people to call off Christmas gatherings and save loved ones.
“The drastic increase in the numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19 in recent days is a stark reminder that the virus is still very prevalent in our community and that it is the responsibility of us all to take every reasonable precaution to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” Sacramento said in an interview with News Australia.
Ignoring the obvious questions about vaccine efficacy, what could people in Gibraltar have done differently? According to data, every available person in the small territory followed the recommendations of public health officials. They all received vaccines.
Gibraltar’s government actually posts its vaccine numbers daily on social media:
— HM Govt of Gibraltar (@GibraltarGov) November 19, 2021
People in the area have been rewarded for being good citizens by being asked to forfeit Christmas celebrations.
If such a high vaccine rate can’t save the holidays in Gibraltar, what does that say for areas with lower rates? Are people in the United States going to be asked to stay inside of their homes alone?
While Europe is a long way from U.S. shores, the rationale behind the Gibraltar’s government’s recommendation is not. Many leaders in this country gladly would ask you and your family to forgo Christmas this year. A number of them did last year.
It’s looking more and more as if COVID is a virus that will be with us in perpetuity, and that nothing short of permanent isolation will rid humanity of the disease.
For free people, that will never be an option.