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Barrow Vows: No Compromise for Violators of Regulations

The Gambian President has expressed concern over the recent surge in coronavirus infection rate in the country and says any person who breaks regulations meant to control the spread of the disease will be dealt with according to law without compromise.

This is his fifth address to the nation regarding the government’s response to the pandemic. It came on the heels of pressure mounted on him by citizens and the civil society groups after he failed to speak to the nation for more than two months.

However, the ministry of health has been giving constant briefing regarding the situation on the grounds. The government has also introduced several regulations including the face mask-wearing, banning of public gathering, closing the worshiping and entertainment centers as well as night curfews for 21 days all meant to control the community spread of the virus.

“The recent increase in the number of cases, including high profile personalities within and outside of my government, as well as other citizens and non-citizens alike, is of concern to me and cause for alarm,” he said in a televised speech on Friday.

     President Barrow addresses the nation on COVID-19

According to the Friday situational report released by the epidemiological unit of the Ministry of Health, 1,623 persons have so far been infected with the virus with more than forty deaths recorded in the country.

“With serious consequences, COVID-19 has derailed our development agenda, challenged our health system and undermined our economic growth. Our GDP indicators have become unrealistic, trade has slowed down and many young people are now unemployed. In one way or another, we are all affected by the global Coronavirus pandemic.”

“To mitigate its impact, my government has taken decisive policy decisions to address the health, economic and social concerns associated with the Coronavirus.

“I have invoked Constitutional powers to impose emergency regulations. We have provided funds to fight the pandemic, and have supported front-line institutions and our heroes, who are tirelessly and wholeheartedly fighting to save us all,” he stated.

He said the reasons for cutting down business activities, restricting movement, and declaring a state of emergency, are obvious, justifying that unusual circumstances require unusual, urgent and decisive action.

“The reality is that we all have a stake in ensuring the enforcement of the measures put in place. Whether we are in a position of authority, an enforcement agent or a citizen or resident of The Gambia, every one of us has the common responsibility to prevent, contain and stop the spread of COVID-19. No one else will do it for us; we have to stand up in unity, and act together as a nation.”

Barrow said to stop the spread of the coronavirus, everyone is duty-bound to wear a face mask, properly covering their mouth and nose, before going to any public place.

“We do not have to wait until the law is applied before we do the right thing. Let us police ourselves as individuals, groups and communities.”

He warned all transporters to be responsible enough to wear a proper face mask and ensure that passengers in their vehicles wear an appropriate mask in a proper manner.

“Anyone who violates this regulation or breaks the curfew in force will be dealt with according to the Law without any compromise.”

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