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Coronavirus Feelings in Gambia: Sadness, Negligence and Plan Disruption

Upon the confirmation of the first case of coronavirus in the country on Tuesday evening, Gambians have reacted to the global pandemic in different ways as to how they felt about the obvious unfavorable news.

Some felt sad, others said they are neglected by the government for failing to avert the eruption of the virus in the country while it led to absolute change of plans for some people.

The person who was confirmed to be infected is a 28-year-old Gambian lady who arrived from the United Kingdom on Sunday, March 15th. Her flight, Royal Air Maroc, landed after 1am early Sunday morning and she later reported herself to the MRC clinic in Fajara where she was tested and later confirmed positive.

The Health Minister, Amadou Samateh made the announcement on the state broadcaster on Tuesday, assuring that the health workers are embarking on tracing process and isolating all other people she flew in with.

       Health Minister, Amadou Samateh

“I felt sad because a Gambian has it. Maybe if she knew that she has the virus, she wouldn’t have come. But the only thing people need to do is to secure themselves, their families and their environment” Habibou Gaye tells the Chronicle.

But a 19-year-old Bintou Drammeh blames the government for what she describes as ‘negligence’ of failing to close the entry points.

“I think the government made a big mistake, especially the president. They should have closed the borders since they had that Senegal has the virus. Is too late now but I believe still now they can try to close our borders and everyone should try to stay indoors.”

Bintou urges people to refrain from engaging in non-essential outings and stay indoors to protect themselves.

“Since I heard of the confirmation of the virus, I usually stay indoors. I think that’s the best way to protect ourselves”.

    Bintou Drammeh

Omar Ceesay, a grade 12 student has been preparing well for his upcoming WASSCE examination but his plans have now been disrupted.

“As a student, I’m really affected by the virus in a way that my exams had to be cancelled and my preparation towards the WASSCE examination has to be ineffective. I am staying in the school but my mom is not with a stable mind. She’s asking me to go back home, Omar said.

Kalifa Jabbi a University student was worried upon hearing the news.

“I was paranoid at the beginning knowing that advanced countries are struggling to control the flow of this disease and in the Gambia, we don’t have the equipment and expertise to avert this disease.

“I was also disappointed with the government’s decision to close schools and leave the borders when our neighbors Senegal have confirmed more cases of this disease in their country,” he said.

Kalipha is among hundreds of students whose university semester will be highly affected.

Majula Barrow said the only thing people need to do is to adhere to the preventing measures given by health authorities and pray to God.

     Majula Barrow

“What I see on this virus is let’s return to God and pray to him. Human beings nothing can solve our problems better than prayers. Prayer is what would protect us all. Be it Muslim or non-Muslim.

“Those who have it, we pray to God for them to be treated and returned to their normal health. I didn’t hear that the virus was confirmed in the Gambia. Am just hearing it” she said

The Gambian borders are still open including the airport and the flights are not cancelled from landing. However, President Barrow ordered that all the flights that are landed from the affected countries, those boarding it must be quarantined for medical check-ups.

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