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Public gatherings banned, schools & universities closed from today

Mar 18, 2020, 1:23 PM

In the bid to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (covid-19), President Adama Barrow has declared that all public gatherings are suspended henceforth.

“This suspension includes all international and local conferences, workshops and seminars to be hosted in The Gambia,” Mr. Barrow said in a televised address on Tuesday night as he outlined some preventive measures his government has put in place against the spread of covid-19.

“So far, there is no reported case of any Coronavirus infection in The Gambia.  However, the Government is not complacent. There are surveillance teams at all major entry points into the country, whether by air or land.”  

“All schools, including universities, madrassas and daras or majlis will be closed from Wednesday, 18th March 2020 for 21 days.” 

“Furthermore, all other public gatherings in whatever form, including lumos (open markets) and Gamos are immediately suspended for three weeks.

The suspension period will be subject to review as we get updates from the experts.”

Making reference to regional and international trends, Mr. Barrow said his government has taken extra precautionary measures to further strengthen the country’s ability to prevent any case of COVID-19.  “It is in this light that all non-essential travels by Government officials, including Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Managing Directors and Directors of all Ministries, Departments and Agents have been suspended.”

“As another preventive measure, all travellers from hotspot countries will be isolated for fourteen (14) days upon arrival in The Gambia.” 

“To further strengthen our preparedness against Coronavirus and Covid-19, I have directed the Minister of Finance to provide funds immediately to prevent any infection.”  

Mr. Barrow urges every Gambian to improve on personal hygiene, especially by handwashing often with soap, covering the mouth with tissue or the elbow when coughing or sneezing and social distancing to prevent transmission.

“All citizens and residents of The Gambia are reminded of the importance of adhering to these preventive measures, and avoid handshaking.”

“While my government is closely monitoring the situation, I urge the public to get reliable facts about the pandemic through official public awareness programmes.” 

Once again, I assure you of my government’s commitment and preparedness to stop any Coronavirus infection or transmission in The Gambia. Together, we can achieve this and contribute towards the promotion of good health for all and protecting our country and our people. 

Mr. Barrow has said that one of the important measures taken by his government has been strengthening surveillance at the airport and at various points of entry along the Gambian border. “In addition, the public has been encouraged to take sanitary measures, among other precautionary actions. Isolation centres and rooms have been prepared also to deal with suspected cases at all major health centres.”  

“I have been informed that, as at 15th March, 2020, a total of three hundred and fifty-five (355) people of interest have been followed, some of whom have been put on self-isolation. One hundred and forty-nine (149) of them have completed check-ups without any symptoms of COVID-19. Two hundred and six (206) are still under surveillance. Of the total seen, only eight (8) required laboratory testing, and their results were all negative.”