Coronavirus or COVID-19 is real and is likely going to stay with us just like HIV/ AIDS, flu and other sicknesses.
Perhaps what is more important to the Gambian was that you showed empathy with Gambians on the many lives that were lost to this deadly virus. So far 108 people have died in this country out of 3,504 cases.
Mr. President, since the advent of this coronavirus, your government and its development partners have poured into the economy millions of dollars to save dear lives, though Gambians and those living in the Gambia are yet to see the results.
We hope henceforth the Health sector will get the necessary attention and equipment as all those who have other sicknesses cannot travel outside and this alone is a problem for all.
Many government officials as well as common Gambians have been affected in one way or the other by this pandemic.
Mr. President what makes the coronavirus different from other diseases and pandemics is that COVID-19 has affected or infected people in every part of the world, thus the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Experts all over the world have indicated that even if, and when a vaccine is available by next year, it will take another year before the world will get back to normalcy.
In the meantime, government must continue to impose all the stringent measures to contain the virus as the spread of the virus in the coming months is expected to surge as we approach the tourist season in The Gambia. The security must reinforce the use of facemasks as many people nowadays seem to care less about wearing the facemask particularly since the lifting of curfew and market restrictions. Remember we have seen improvement in the containment of the spread of the virus since the wearing of facemasks had been mandatory; therefore your government must not compromise the use of facemasks especially in public places.
Mr. President in The Gambia like elsewhere, people do not live in isolation, and we're still fighting for our own survival as a nation and as we all know we cannot close our borders forever. Experience has shown elsewhere that discipline is the key to eradicating the spread of COVID-19.
Tourists coming into the Gambia must be given strict guidelines, in addition to the tax levy imposed by your government.
We believe that the timing of the introduction of this levy when we are trying to welcome tourists into the country needs to be revisited. Gambians abroad are also complaining that such a levy would affect them and we know that they are the backbone of the Gambian economy. Every year they send over 300 million US dollars according to official sources.
The use of notes at the airport will also contribute to the spread of the virus.
Mr. President, the civic education component of government must be recalibrated with funds and mobility to reach all citizens.
Many people out of the Greater Banjul Area are yet to understand the dangers of COVID-19.
If the quarantine for travelers is eliminated, the cost that was catered for and other testing costs should be used to upgrade hospitals around the country to better treat the sick and those infected by the virus.
Finally, Mr. President the telecommunication network is poor and very expensive compared to many countries in the sub-region.
Your government should do everything possible for the telecommunication sector, electricity and water supply to be improved, reliable and affordable to satisfy customers.