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Gambia Quarantines Two Indonesians, Suspends Ministers From Traveling, Closes Schools Over COVID-19 Scare…

By Patience Loum, Banjul, The Gambia – Friday, March 20, 2020.

Adama Barrow – President of The Gambia.

The Gambia has quarantined two Indonesians suspected of the Coronavirus, a report from The Gambia Ministry of Health said. 

The two Indonesians suspected of having the Coronavirus were taken to the Medical Research Unit (MRC) at Fajara for testing on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Rumors, however, started circulating on the internet that the suspects tested positive but the Ministry of Health quickly dismissed as fake and unauthentic.

The Ministry of Health announced in a press release, Monday that the patients have been tested and the results came out negative.

“The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as and when necessary,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement also said that The Gambia President, Adama Barrow has however assured everyone that no cases so far have been reported. 

He made a statement later on the day commending the Ministry of Health and partners for putting together a responsive emergency program to help sensitize Gambians on the pandemic and best ways to prevent it.

“The Ministry of Health and partners have been working extremely hard over the period to enhance their preparedness against COVID-19. For this purpose, an extra-ordinary emergency meeting comprising members of the National Health Emergency Committee and senior medical practitioners in various specialisations was convened,” Barrow said. 

The President also highlighted that another important measure ensured they strengthened surveillance at the airport and at various points of entry along the Gambian border. 

Barrow also opined that the public has been encouraged to take sanitary measures, among other precautionary actions. Isolation centers and rooms have been prepared also to deal with suspected cases at all major health centers, he stated.

He further explained in detail the measures taken by the government through the aid of the World Health Organisation. 

“Making reference to regional and international trends, my government has taken extra precautionary measures to further strengthen the country’s ability to prevent any case of COVID-19, said Barrow. 

He also suspended all non-essential travels by government officials, including ministers, permanent secretaries, managing directors, and directors of all ministries, departments, and agents.

Also, realizing how vulnerable people are during public gatherings, Barrow declared that all public gatherings are suspended. This suspension includes all international and local conferences, workshops and seminars to be hosted in The Gambia.

Lumos (open markets) and Gamos were also suspended. All schools, including universities, madrassas and daras or majlis were closed from Wednesday, March 18, 2020, for twenty-one (21) days.

The suspension period will be subject to review as we get updates from the experts, Barrow said, adding that all travelers from hotspot countries will be isolated for fourteen (14) days upon arrival in The Gambia.”

The President also urged all Gambians and residents to maintain a healthy hygiene routine by thoroughly cleansing their hands and making use of other safety measures.

“To reiterate the important health messages of preventing, containing and managing Coronavirus, I implore you all to improve on personal hygiene, especially by washing hands often with soap, covering the mouth with a tissue or the elbow when coughing or sneezing and social distancing to prevent transmission.”

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