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Gambia declares state of emergency over COVID-19

The Gambian President Adama Barrow has declared state of emergency owing to the Covid-19 pandemic already confirmed in the country.The President made the declaration in a televised statement on Friday evening amid intensified control measures against the deadly virus. 

The proclamation orders  closure of non-essential commodity shops, bars, cafés, casinos, sporting  venues, and all forms of public gatherings in bid to stop the spread of  the virus. 

The Gambian leader has also  ordered all public and private institutions to minimise staff reporting  to work with immediate effect. 

The Gambia so far recorded  three cases involving two Gambians and one Bangladeshi man who succumbed  to the virus last week.  The Health Ministry said all the three cases  were imported and that contact tracing is underway to isolate all those  who interacted with them. 

The move came days after the  suspension of all public gatherings including religious convergence.  Muslims in the country have for the first time desist from the weekly  Friday prayers in observance of the ban on public gatherings. 

Streets in Banjul and  Serekunda, Gambia’s biggest suburb are gradually getting less busy, with  few motorists plying the roads. Beaches and restaurants in the Tourism  Department Area are literally empty as most tourists cut their holidays  short to returned home prior to the closure of land borders and airspace  in wake to the pandemic. 

The Health Ministry said 47 suspected cases tested at the Medical Research Council are awaiting laboratory results. 

“I urged all to take the  pandemic seriously,” the president said. He cited the need to apply the  prescribed preventive measures including public spacing and hand washing  using sanitisers in keeping safe from the virus. 

Published on 28.04.2020

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