Mar 3, 2021, 10:00 AM
The entire world is united in facing the emergency of the coronavirus disease also known as COVID-19 pandemic. It’s like the globe is at war, but together against a common enemy.
Life still has to go on with or without the pandemic because we don’t know when it will be eradicated in the world or when there will be a vaccine that would be approved by WHO.
Business must continue with social distancing, wearing of face masks, washing of hands and use of sanitisers whilst allowing shops to open for people to go about their business.
Mr. President, Tourism, which is The Gambia’s second foreign earning, is planning to be operational in October.
The authorities should make sure that tourists coming must have a COVID 19 certificate of 72 hours. There are about 43000 hotel workers still at home, which is very painful for them and their families as most of them are the breadwinners; the government should bail them out.
People who are in The Gambia who have businesses or medical checkup should be allowed and assisted to facilitate their travels abroad. Gambians who want to come back can also be quarantined at their own expense or stay home for a period of TWO weeks.
Mr. President, institutions like the TRRC should resume work with one witness and few reporters in the hall in every session in adherence to the WHO preventive measures.
Their work has a timeframe and should be respected because their report and recommendations will be very instrumental in determining the institutional reforms and a lot more that should take place in some offices.
We cannot continue living in isolation with lots of work that needs to done put on halt.
Mr. President, even if the curfew is lifted, the security forces should continue to patrol the cities and towns to halt criminals. Security personnel are doing remarkable job which they should continue.
The violation going on in Kololi Tarvan in the country against the government measures in fighting the disease should be stopped soonest.
Groups of people converging there and partying with none wearing a facemask between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. should be stopped and persons found wanting be taken to court and charged as they are violating the social gathering prohibition and the facemask wearing requirement.
The government needs to deploy a contingent of the security at this point to eradicate this unacceptable practice for the safety of all of us.
Mr. President, in Senegal and other countries, all travelers must show COVID 19 test results taken 72 hours before departure. Travelers must also show confirmed air tickets in addition to the COVID 19 test result. Any passenger who fails to do so will not be allowed to board flights.
Perhaps, The Gambia should do the same as a requirement. It will help contain the spread of the virus situation and to enhance the image of the country abroad in this pandemic. Government should also request all airlines and road transport authorities not to bring into the country passengers who do not have COVID 19 test certificate 72 hours prior to departure which they must show at entry points. This will safeguard Gambians at home from getting contaminated by arriving passengers.
Finally Mr. President, securing the nation’s health is critical to the well-being of the society and to your development agenda. Life must go on but government must be firm for everyone to follow the WHO guidelines. The people must be told in clear terms that if they don’t adhere to COVID 19 guidelines - avoid gatherings, wear facemask, observe social distancing, wash hands, etc,- then the state of emergency will continue and never end.
Maternal mortality is becoming a major problem in The Gambia these days. The rate at which our young pregnant mothers are dying calls for quick and urgent response to halt the situation. Until appropriate and urgent actions are taken, the alarming rate of maternal mortality will always be a talking point in the coming years.
Mr. President, it is very sad that at this time when the whole world is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic, West Africa is faced with security challenges which will make life worse for its people.