Follow up on the Coronavirus

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Follow up on the Coronavirus

After my interventions at the National Assembly earlier in the week recommending the closure of the borders and entry points for further notice, I thank the Government for their consideration to do so. However, the selection of countries that are banned to travel to the Gambia is not only discriminatory and selective but also not based on the statistics, possible transmission and effect of the Pandemic. according to the World Health Organisation. Morocco has no reported case and not in the list of countries from the Gambia government but as an African hop can bring people from any country via Morocco.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Wuhan, China in December 2019, we have seen the virus spread to over 160 countries. Several countries have experienced large outbreaks, including China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Spain and France, with the US and UK seeing rapidly increasing numbers. But most countries in the world have reported very few to no cases of COVID-19.This raises the question: are these low case numbers due to the virus not reaching or establishing infections, is it due to effective border control, or does it reflect a lack of screening and reporting?

The spread of an infectious disease from its country of origin is a complicated process involving many factors, but at its core, it is related to the movement of people. There are several parameters that can be used to coarsely estimate movement: travel (inbound and outbound), migration, trade and proximity. Looking at the number of COVID-19 cases in the context of the ranked order of flow of people and goods between China other countries, we see the following (WHO, March 15):

I am recommending a temporary suspension of flights to the Gambia as the country  is not in the best position of screening and reporting at the borders and ports. Moreover, the one confirmed   is an inbound traveller.

Hon.Omar Ceesay
NAM Niamina East

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