The Gambia’s Health Minister, Dr. Amadou Samateh has informed that the government is advising citizens not to embark on non-essential travels which may put them at risk of contracting the fast-spreading coronavirus.
The minister was speaking to journalists at State House on Tuesday shortly after briefing the cabinet on the state of preparedness to prevent the virus and case management in case of eventualities.
“People are regulating their travels. People are advised to refrain from non-essential travels and this is the advice of the government…Those who are in the country and they want to travel, of course the advice is people should refrain from traveling, especially if the travel is non-essential, to the affected countries,” minister said.
However, he dispels the notion of imposing a travel embargo as a means of preventing the virus from spreading in the country, insinuating that it did not happen anywhere.
“…but general travel embargo, you know the challenges with that, the social challenges, is that we have a lot of Gambians abroad if they want to come back to meet their families, should they be asked not to come? Some of them do not have a place to live and what’s going to happen to them?”
“I think it is going to be very difficult for any nation to say nobody should come out and nobody should go out. It’s full of challenges.”
On whether to prevent the entry of people from the coronavirus affected countries, Dr. Samateh remained resolute that it’s not the solution.
“To the countries that are affected too, Gambians are there and their families are here. Some of those Gambians have nowhere to stay and they have no money to take care of their accommodation, their feeding and they want to come home. What do you do with those? I think the essence is to work together and those at risk, are identified in good time, isolated and treated.”
As part of their preparation, Samateh said health workers who are posted to the entry points across the country are prepared to immediately pick-up infected people for immediate clinical actions, to ensure the person is quarantined, treated while the virus is contained from further spreading.