#Editorial

Good Morning Mr. President: We must put measures against 2nd wave

Feb 1, 2021, 12:11 PM

Mr. President, the number of coronavirus cases on Friday was worrisome with 71 cases, bringing the total number since March to date to 4,090 cases and 128 deaths. Three UK variant COVID-19 cases were also discovered lately in the country.

The recommendation of the Association of Resident Doctors (GARD) should receive immediate application to save the country from this deadly disease.

Government should not to get complacent with outgoing public gathering ban, masks wearing, hand washing/sanitising practices. Ministry of Health to strengthen the treatment centers to help improve management of critically ill COVID-19 patients. 

The government should also encourage health workers with incentives and take their advice seriously and implement them and be strict with all those entering the country to get a COVID-19 negative test.

Mr. President, Senegal, our immediate neighbour has introduced a state of emergency and curfew till February 20, 2020, banned all public gatherings, mandatory wearing of face masks and social distance since December. This is because the second wave has started increasing; from 200 to 300 cases and about 10 deaths daily. Since the COVID was discovered March to date 26,523 positive cases have been registered with four variant cases discovered last Wednesday in Dakar.

The Gambia should take serious precautions especially sensitising the public because majority of the people don't believe the existence of the virus and are neglecting everything about the disease. 

Mr. President, it was a good move by the World Bank to pledge US$12 billion to African countries to support vaccination programmes; if not every individual will pay US$50, which could be too expensive for the average African. For Europe, the vaccine is 9 to 20 US dollars; both US and EU governments promised to assist their citizens. 

Mr. President, NAWEC management under the leadership of Nani Juwara should be applauded for providing about 7 million dalasis worth of COVID 19 materials to schools. Other parastatals and the business community should also join in the crusade and continue to support the Ministry of Health to fight the disease.

The Ministry of Education should be supported because school going children can be very vulnerable to the virus. 

Mr. President, the initiative by Buah Saidy for commercial banks to reduce interest rates is timely and helpful for businesses to flourish in this pandemic, which has brought untold hardships to humanity and economies. 

He said last week at the Assembly that "interest rates of the banks are too high; we have liberalised lending rates, lowered inflation 20% interest.”

Senegal and other francophone countries are charging 9% interest and UK 2.5 %. , US 3.5 %, the reduction in rates of commercial banks will sustain business and will create more business activities.

Finally Mr. President, government should help The Gambia Ports Authority to handle vessels more quickly to discharge goods. Vessels wait at the ports for two to three weeks before discharging goods and importers are obliged to pay extra money which ends up reflecting on goods’ prices. 

Shipping lines congested containers charging 300 US dollars, which importers in turn add to the price of those goods. This is one of the reasons why prices of goods are high, and the government should step in to solve the problem so that goods will be sold at reasonable prices.

Good day!

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