As three high-profile government officials have been tested positive for Coronavirus, calls are intensifying for Gambian authorities to opt for a complete nationwide lockdown. The surging of infections cases at alarming rate has raised deep concerns about the path government should take to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
The Gambia Red Cross Society Secretary General, Alasan Senghore, told this medium that a lockdown constitutes a salutary alternative that could not only help to reduce further infection, but also to allow health care providers to adjust themselves, and put their act together.
“This will allow for contact tracing, isolation and treatment,” he added.
In a press release issued late Sunday night, the Presidency announced that the Finance Minister and Economic Affairs, Mambury Njie; the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Fafa Sanyang; and the Minister of Agriculture, Amie Fabureh have tested positive for COVID-19.
Senghore, who recently stepped down as Gambia’s COVID-19 Czar, said government should be more open in terms of their capacity to response to the pandemic, and should not hesitate to make best use of internal and external support.
“This was done by many countries including Italy that requested support from China. The support should including surge capacity both equipment and human resources in specialized fields,” he remarked.
Prior to the infection of three top government officials, the Vice-President Dr. Isatou Touray has also been tested positive for Coronavirus. A situation that prompted President Adama Barrow to go for sel-isolation.
‘A Free Moving Train’
Adding his voice to the fight against Coronavirus crisis, Seedy Ceesay described the deadly virus as “a free moving train,” knocking and killing people indiscriminately.
The former Freedomnewspaper news anchor, and proprietor of Coastal Security company, urged Gambian authorities to impose a lockdown with stricter and tougher restrictions.
“Our fragile health system needed a “time out” to avert collapse. Treatment centers are reported full capacity of their Covid-19 beds,” he deplored.
He then added that the country is waging a losing battle against COVID-19, calling on health authorities to come up with ‘a consolidated and definitive plan of action’ in order to fight off the disease.
“President Barrow must reimpose strict lockdown in the country to give health workers a “time out”. The government should also use the time to “recalibrate strategies against Covid-19,” he emphasized.
To many observers, the tiny West African nation is paying the price of lifting the State of Public Emergency (SoPE) at a time when COVID-19 cases were spiking in neighbouring Senegal.
Ceesay further decried the poor detection rate, isolation, and contact tracing as these mitigating measures have failed to contain the disease.
“Since lockdowns were eased, outbreaks have increased by 100% in the country,” he said.
He warned that Gambia could face the worse outbreak in the subregion if people failed to comply with the regulations set out by the Ministry of Health, including social distancing and face covering.
Written by Abdoulie John
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