May 5, 2020, 1:56 PM
When WHO added Disease X to its R&D Blueprint in 2018, the reality of an unknown pathogen that could cause a serious international epidemic was just beyond the limits of the imagination.
The last time this kind of pandemic was seen in the world was about a100 years ago. It was called the Spanish Flu. At that time the world had a population of 1.5b, and 500 million got the disease, that was 1/3 of the population. There was a record of 25 million deaths worse than the First World War itself in 1914.
Mr. President, Social distancing is a major challenge for Gambians as many do not respect the WHO rules. This is caused by ignorance and it should be addressed immediately by educating people through the media because community transmission is causing havoc in Africa and many parts of the world.
It’s only this year that people know that the letter C is bad omen; for example: corona, case, confirm, confine and cemetery. People should take this seriously and know that coronavirus is a deadly contaminating disease.
Mr. President, the amendments made to the public health emergency regulation is very welcoming considering the business community and the effects of not selling their products.
Ramadan is fast approaching, come Friday or Saturday depending on the sighting of the moon, and many people have observed that the time scheduled for the markets would not be favourable for workers especially during the Ramadan period. We are suggesting that markets start from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. so that those working can also go for their shopping.
Mr. President, the security agents should be more vigilant in controlling the porous borders as it was reported last week that motorcyclists were smuggling basic commodities to southern Senegal.
The Gambia is a small country and the continuous spread of the virus will affect the economy and the population of the country.
Mr. President, the Finance minister gave an update on the monies spent since the coronavirus pandemic starting March 17 amounting to 143,000,000 dalasis. This is a very big amount and government should furnish the population with a breakdown of monies received and expenditures for the sake of accountability and transparency.
It will be very important for your government to draw programmes and budgets and prioritise them according importance and needs.
The hospitals and public health centres need upgrading and should be provided with more proper facilities like beds, respiratory/ventilator units, generators, drugs and ambulances, not forgetting motivation for the health workers.
Finally Mr. President, there are still several Gambians stranded in the subregion, Europe, U.S.A. and Asia and government should assist them financially and make plans to repatriate them as soon as possible as some countries have done.
Gambia should work with Senegal to get our nationals back and safe.
Amid rise in illegal fishing in both national and international waters, there is need for staff working in the Fisheries and Water Resources sector to be fully equipped to be able to do their jobs as expected. We all know that illegal fishing is a widespread phenomenon with broad socio-environmental impacts and transnational criminal dimensions.
The spread of the coronavirus across the world has resulted in a great deal of change to the way we interact with each other and how we do business. Since the virus was first reported, its rapid spread has caused countries to close their borders and companies and economies to grind to a halt.