Congregational prayers have been banned in the country since President Adama Barrow announced in March the banning of public gatherings and the closing of all schools including universities and Madrassas as part of his government’s efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Dr. Ceesay, however, argued since the country remains uncertain about the length of the pandemic, it would be insensitive to continue full confinement measures of covid-19 which has adverse consequences on the country’s economy and livelihoods of the people in absence of a comprehensive government relief package for businesses and individuals.
“Since there is no vaccine yet and we may not know how long this pandemic will take, I think the government should be smart and strategic to start easing out in phases. They should open up a bit and allow most of the essential businesses to open, the restrictions on when markets should open and close should be lifted to let businesses go ahead because you cannot continue closing businesses when government’s response is obviously not good enough” Dr. Ceesay added.
Ceesay, an analyst and a leading political and security expert who is also the interim leader of the Citizens Alliance, stated that every country should be able to look at its reality and come up with strategies that fit its realities on the ground and at the same time not putting lives in danger.
“When covid-19 started we were unsure as to exactly how the virus looks like in terms of transmissibility and some other issues. So it was prudent at the time to have a lockdown but three months down the line we have some idea about the virus hence we cannot continue to lock the economy indefinitely which would be very dangerous for us,” he further warned.
“The economy is at a standstill, the government did not come up with a comprehensive relief package and people must have to make livelihoods. In as much as you want to protect lives, you should also protect livelihoods. Therefore government should open the economy and also consider opening mosques and people be allowed to congregate and pray but with regulations including compulsory wearing of masks and social distancing” Ceesay suggested.