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‘Mortuary is Busy Today’ as City Mayor Wails in Agony

The Gambia is fast approaching its peak of Coronavirus cases with a recent rapid increase of confirmed cases in the country causing several deaths.

The statistics generated from the health authorities on Saturday indicated 498 total confirmed cases of which 414 are currently receiving treatment while 9 people have so far succumbed to death.

But the death toll is feared to have increased rapidly on Sunday as the mortuary of the country’s main referral hospital, Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, is becoming full to the brim of suspected cases of COVID-19.

The Chronicle contacted a medical doctor [unnamed for security reasons] who works at the hospital for confirmation. The doctor later confirmed from the in-charge of the mortuary who told him ‘it was a busy day for me,’ saying he was just going home [about 8pm] after overstay. 

According to the source, dead bodies have been brought in high numbers awaiting examination and result analysis for possible link to the virus as suspected. 

At around 7pm on Sunday, the Mayor of Banjul, Rohey Malick Lowe appeared in a Facebook live video whooping as she strongly and emotionally asked for an immediate lockdown of the city.

Rohey Malick Lowe

“I will direct my talks to the Minister of Health. My dear brother, Honorable, I am appealing to you to introduce a lockdown in the Greater Banjul area, since all powers are given to you,” she said. 

“The President has given the powers to you. I am appealing to you to introduce a lockdown. It’s very very important [because of] the way this Coronavirus is attacking the Greater Banjul area and North Bank.

“My brother, I’m appealing to you because as a politician I have conscience [and] I cannot sit down seeing my people dying every day. Look at the hospital how it’s like. Dr. Samateh, I am talking to you as a sister, please I am appealing because the coronavirus has escalated and I know you know it better than I do,” she said as she continued to cry out loud throughout the 3:31 minutes video.

“I am talking to the doctors in Banjul [because] people are dying in the greater Banjul area, in their homes. The frontliners are dying. I am appealing as a sister for the sake of God, deploy the police and soldiers outside and they talk with our people because people are dying,” she further appealed. 

“As I am talking to you, one elderly man who died is my friend, my father and we have seen many other people dying every day, every minute.”

Whilst she didn’t mention any name, many people rushed to associate her statement with one Alieu Mboge, the leader of Banjul Muslim Elders whose death was announced on Sunday afternoon.

Alieu Mboge

“Honourable Minister, I know there is equipment in the ICU [Intensive Care Unit]. But is that enough if we don’t abide by the rules? I am on my knees begging you because I cannot take it anymore as a mother, as a leader and as a sister. I am appealing to you for the sake of God and his messenger.”

The Director of Health Promotion and Education, Mondou Njai could not conclude that Mboge’s death is as a result of COVID-19 unless the body is examined. He said all the people who are suspected to have died from COVID-19, their bodies will be analysed for confirmation or otherwise. 

The government has released a new set of regulation framework on Thursday which empowered the Minister of Health to introduce lockdown in any parts of the country to contain the public health emergency situation. It’s valid for 90 days and also declared a mandatory wearing of face masks with defaulters liable to pay D1000. But the set of regulations fails to define who should enforce it and who should collect the fines. Since then, the public has not been adhering to the regulations. 

Njai said he will discuss with the Minister regarding the appeal made by Mayor Lowe as well as who should collect the fines that are anticipated to be collected from the defaulters and return this medium.

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