Expats in Gibraltar and the Falklands fighting the virus plus colonisation

Published:  24 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, USA, UK, England
Brit expats in the Falklands and Gibraltar are battling the effects of the coronavirus.

Both the Falklands and Gibraltar share a political status as British Overseas Territories, and both are under the threat of the coronavirus as well as concerted attacks on their statuses by Argentina and Spain. As if fighting off the bitter claims of sovereignty by the two larger assailants wasn’t enough, both dots on the map are fighting the economic ruin and deadly infection of the coronavirus.

Gibraltar is a popular destination for both British expatriates and tourists but, as with many other favourite locations, cancellations of previously made bookings and no new enquiries are the order of the day for hotels and guest houses as the lockdown continues. To make matters worse, for the past year and more the Rock’s and its residents’ statuses have been under threat from Brexit, and its towering limestone mass is now bereft of flights, cruise ships and tourists bussed in from Spain.

In spite of the fact that Gibraltar has just 12 active cases of the virus and 120 residents who’ve recovered, its health minister believes a surge in patients is inevitable. British expats are grieving over the high number of deaths in the UK at the same time as fearing an uptake of Spanish efforts to grab the colony for itself.

Set in the remote South Atlantic almost a thousand miles from Argentina, the Falklands Islands are British to the core, no matter what their nearest mainland neighbour believes. Some 40 years after the so-called Falklands War, eleven islanders are now infected with the coronavirus, all of whom are living on the UK’s military base. Residents are now in fear of an outbreak amongst the general population, most of whom are of British origin.

One Falklands Islander told the media she’s terrified as an outbreak in the civilian community would cause the deaths of at least 50 to 60 people, even although precautions are now being taken. Medical facilities are limited, with medivac flights to the mainland the only way to deal with the pandemic. What’s even more scary for residents is Argentina’s politicising of the threat under the guise of offering support, but continuing isolation is wrecking the islands’ attempts to provide facilities for tourists in the face of the pandemic.
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