Health Minister Amadou Lamin Samateh, has denied that his Ministry is running out of COVID-19 testing kits. “No, no, that is not correct information. We are not having shortage of testing kits and testing kits are available and being used, we are expanding our testing, more and more people are being tested and people are encouraged to come for testing. Now, in addition to that, we are opening testing centers, we are expanding along the length and breadth of the country and some testing sites are also getting expanded. And of course, more testing kits will be brought in continuously, it is a continuous process, as we deal with this pandemic Pa,” Dr. Samateh told me in a phone interview on Sunday.

This followed a claim made by a concerned parent, who said that his quarantined son, was told by his employer MRC that there are no testing kits available to test him after his 14 days quarantining.

The concerned parent said the MRC, had issued his son, a document published below regarding the issue of testing quarantined patients.

When questioned about the MRC alleged test kit shortage, Dr. Samateh said: “I am not aware of that particular incident, but what I know is that there is no shortage of testing kits. Policy is being reviewed about what needs to be done. I am sure you are aware of that, internationally as more and more evidence is available with regards to the Coronavirus disease, policies are reviewed with regards to implementation of testing, with regards to the treatment, and with regards to who get tested and at what time. So, for this particular case, I cannot comment on it because I am not aware, but what I know generally is that testing kits are available.”

Dr Samateh also said the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a new quarantine and discharge policy, which his Ministry would release to the public on Monday.

As there is growing concern and apprehensive expressed in some quarters about the authenticity of President Barrow’s recently released Coronavirus test result, Dr. Samateh was asked as to whether the President test results were negative as reported, in response Dr. Samateh remarked:  “Yes, President Barrow is negative and what I said to that Pa, is that it puzzles me, why people just expect the worst for human beings. If he a human being gets something that is good, we should rather be happy for that person, we should never forget, whether a politician, or a farmer, or somebody working down the street, we are all human beings and people should be very careful the kinds of comments they say about people, we are all in the hands of the almighty Allah, He gives to the person that he wants to give to, and he protects the person, He wanted to protect. If Allah makes President Barrow, the President, that doesn’t mean that people should wish him bad; those people themselves are dispose to Coronavirus, this Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate whether it is a President, whether it is a Minister, whether it is a man walking down the street. So, this is a pandemic. So, I don’t know mean to wish people just because Allah has made them leaders today, to wish them so badly, forgetting that they themselves and their families are human. And at a certain point in time somebody has to leave, this is what people forget, at a certain point in time, somebody has to leave, somebody was leaving before, somebody has to leave today, and somebody would be leaving tomorrow. So, I think people should go back and repent and think of the Almighty Allah, in whatever we say, in whatever we do, let us put the fear of the Almighty Allah ahead and that will guide what we say, what we do, what we wish for other people because we are all human, let never forget that, right.”

President Barrow has been absent from the public view for some time now. But Health Minister Samateh says the President is fine and was doing well.

“He is fine. I spoke to him a day before yesterday. He is fine and upbeat. He is on top of things, he gets briefs regularly, he gives advice, he gives his opinion, and really, he has bests of intention for this country. Every day he prays that that the people of this country gets protected. He finds about what we are doing, he finds about where we need support, so we do engage him a quiet a whole lot with regards to whatever is happening with regards to the Coronavirus pandemic and with regards to what is happening in the country. He is very much informed, and he is here for the people of this country, all the time. I can assure you that,” Dr. Samateh remarked.

For the rest of the interview, please tune into our prime-time Sunday Leral show. Stay tuned.

Join The Conversation