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Covid-19- how prepared are we?

Mar 17, 2020, 3:53 PM

The outbreak of the deadly corona virus is dominating local and international headlines as the number of reported cases grows by the day. Governments around the world are limiting travel - both inward and outward - to curb the movement of people.

The virus has not only crippled global supply chains, but has also paralysed global markets and other institutions.

Already, the deadly virus has a serious consequence on The Gambia’s economy as the overall impact of covid-19 is estimated at 2.5 billion dalasis. On the financial aspect, there is need for stricter expenditure control and planning to lessen or mitigate the impact and ensure that sound economic gains.

Though there is no reported case yet, but how prepared are we to contain any unforeseen cases.

Since the onset of the covid-19 outbreak, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) has played a major role in preventive and mitigation measures. The increased public sensitisation about the signs and symptoms by health experts is also paying dividend.

But we believe social distancing, voluntary self-quarantine, staying home when sick, avoiding large crowds and the cancellation of events, entertainment and cultural events would also help a great deal.

The deployment of health teams at the country’s main exit and entry points by the Ministry of Health is a move in the right direction.

More importantly, we believe the president should talk to the nation as to the state of the country’s preparedness to contain the deadly virus. The virus is not just any virus, since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it as a public health emergency of international concern. The World Health Organisation further warned that the coronavirus pandemic is a “defining global health crisis of our time”. Thus, The Gambia should make it mandatory to screen all visitors especially those through our porous borders.

Globally, the virus has now infected more than 164,000 people and killed at least 6,500. Therefore, it is a race against time and let’s step-up efforts to keep the deadly virus at bay. Thus, there is no room for complacency.

“The international community should treat this as a window of opportunity to ramp up preparedness and response.”

Margaret Chan