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Gambia’s first Coronavirus case: The way forward

Written by Basidia M Drammeh:


With the announcement of the first confirmed coronavirus in the Gambia, the health authorities need to activate all the protocols in place to combat the virus effectively and efficiently.


It has been reported that the patient who contracted the virus is a lady in her 20s who arrived in the country from London. Now, the authorities should trace all the individuals the infected person has come into contact with to avoid the spread of the virus. Though some have raised concerns as to how the lady managed to slip through the net, I think the focus should be on the crisis at hand and how to prevent a recurrence. It’s like spilled milk!


Social distancing and the avoidance of gatherings are some of the key measures to curb the virus. This could prove hard within Gambia’s social context, given the sociable nature of the Gambian society; notwithstanding, we need to sacrifice certain aspects of our social values for the greater good, such as naming ceremonies, weddings, gammos and group Quran recitations.


Public awareness should be ramped up, particularly around hygiene and sanitation as another preventative measure, such as regular cleaning of hands and avoiding handshakes.


Attaya vous should all be suspended to ensure that the virus is contained. Our marketplaces are usually crowded because most people cannot afford to stockpile food. Nevertheless, frequenting the market must be minimized.


All entry points should be closely monitored if the Government cannot close them. All those entering the country should be properly and thoroughly screened since evidence has shown that most infections are travel-related.


Awareness campaigns should be done in all languages and in all communities to keep the virus at bay.

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The President’s speech articulated more stringent measures but was void of the mechanisms to enforce them. Hopefully, the health minister will provide more details regarding that.


In short, people need to adhere to the instructions spelled out by the Government. The measures might have come late, but still better than nothing. The nation must come together in these trying moments and fully cooperate with the health authorities to mitigate the pandemic.


May Allah protect all of us against Covid-19.

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