By Bakary Ceesay
The Gambia has taken strict measures in curbing the spread of Coronavirus by announcing that it will shut its land borders and airspace midnight Monday.
The Gambia has so far confirmed only one case of the virus involving a 28-year-old lady who recently flew from the United Kingdom. This has created fear in the public and many people have been asking the government to shut down the airport and land borders to prevent new arrivals who may bring the disease.
On Saturday during a press conference convened by health authorities, they informed that tests were conducted on several people who flew in the same flight with the infected person and the results were negative. However, 14 people escaped from the quarantine hotel but the health workers said some of those people have been coming back to them to be quarantined.
“Following consultations and an update from the Ministerial Committee on the Coronavirus, His Excellency, President Adama Barrow has approved the closure of the border between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal, effective midnight, on Monday, 23rd March 2020,” the statement from the presidency stated on Saturday night.
“The decision of the closure of the border was taken considering the rapid spread of COVID -19 in the world and in our region, and the continuous movement of people posing high risk of contracting the disease. The Government of the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal have mutually agreed to close their border for a period of 21 days in the bid to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The public is hereby informed that the closure will not affect essential services, such as movement of security personnel, foodstuff, medical services, related items and equipment between the two countries,” it added.
In the same statement, the government has also declared the closure of the airspace to all flights except for medical cargo flights, and it will take effect the same day for the period of 21 days as well.
The President further urges all to take responsibility to prevent, contain and manage the Coronavirus.