In about few minutes, Gambia will be going under lock down buoyed of containing a virus the world is battling tooth and nail to put at bay.
The warning signs have been ringing over the calamitous nature of the epidemic spanning December last year in Asia -to be precise China.
However, the world began taking notice in February and only took real meaning efforts towards its containment in recent weeks of March.
Italy -never mind its equipped health sector – is hit the hardest in Europe. Analysts though wire this down to a fragile aging population.
Africa, despite the brouhaha hovering over the virus’ tenacity to spread and in worst cases to kill, which often look likelier, only had its first case of what was then an epidemic this month.
Spreading via droplets and fastest, being handshakes or contact, the disease has started gathering momentum on the continent, effectively dispelling initially unsubstantiated claims by medical personnel that Africans are immune to the pandemic.
Nigeria led the way in among nations from our part of the world to have had experience of a case, caused by the travel of a certain Italian who flew in Abuja on a mission or so the story goes.
The individual has since recuperated and released but left a trail culminating into devastation after a couple of doctors got infected too during the healing process.
Senegal then followed owing to its rather very open policy door to French tourists. Soon, infections via patient to doctor began with cases incredibly soaring to two, then four, nine, 12 to 79 today. Worryingly, it appears in no mood of slowing down with a percentage of increasing incidents of transmissions.
Considering its close proximity with Senegal who geographically surrounds Gambia thrice, the panic button then set in for the Smiling Coast an in under two days Gambia got its first case.
In the run up to this heart-wrenching news, government failed to act or rather heed vociferous calls for its borders to be shut. Barrow’s leadership, to most staunch detractors of the property-seller-turned president, were less than proactive and swerved to action only when calamity greeted at the door’s step. To majority Gambians, it’s hard ruling out the latter.
First Postive Case For Gambia
Gambia’s first positive case came from an unsuspecting UK-based young woman who flew in to the country to check on her relations and perhaps take a sabbatical from the incessant news of coronavirus for fear of being trapped there.
However, destiny had different plans and caught the ailment she did. She arrived into the country on board a Royal Maroc flight at a time president Barrow was just beginning to seriously contemplate closing the airspace.
She went through routine checks conducted on new arrivals for the coronavirus and showed no symptoms of the disease and was thus given the all-clear to slip through.
Days later, to the utter consternation of Gambians, she displayed several signs and worried of her fate, drove herself to the Medical Research Centre (MRC) were examinations carried out marked her positive.
It certainly was no pleasing news and to a government who were allocated over million US dollars to combat the virus – an undertaking merely surfacing now following confirmation of a positive case. Questions were being hurled such as why the amount disclosure now and not before emergence of the covid-19 case.
This portion remain relevant to Barrow’s critics but of preoccupation to the status quo has been attempting to move ahead of time to lay down mechanisms that would muffle covid-19. Rather surprisingly and as seen in many countries, there have been no incidents of patient-doctor transmissions, suggesting a a great display of circumspection.
First Covid-19 Patient Death and an Uncertain Future
Just as the nation basked in this glory, then thunder stroke followed by lightening as the heavens opened paving way for calamity. Gambia registered its second coronavirus case coming from a Bangladeshi Septuagenarian preacher who, going by grapevine reports, had stopped in a series of countries prior to landing at destination Gambia where, by nature of missionary work, had quite a contact with Islam-driven folks at the Bundung Markass mosque.
Chills run at thought of this. Capping this trajectory is MRC’s news that he Bangladeshi who would later die on the way to hospital, had contact with some of their staff who have been inevitably forced into a 14-day self-isolation.
Word has been filtered out to all those who came into contact with him to turn themselves in for quarantining during what’s torrid times with an uncertain future. The nation’s CDS Yankuba Drammeh is among a blizzard of people in self imposed seclusion on the heels of revelation he boarded the same plane as the first covid-19 patient, due to be released potentially soon.
Suspected Covid-19 Patients Escaping and a Troubling Religious Bigotry
Religion remain key in lives of Gambians but this could potentially pose massive health risk in the face of the deadly coronavirus. Public institutions have closed including schools. Of primary worry to all is exhibited tendencies of stubbornness from a number of Muslim leaders who’re determine to stage mandatory Friday prayers in public despite government’s suspension of gatherings.
Mosques around Bundung and Serrekunda still hold daily public prayers. Aside from this deduction is the qualms of newly arrived travellers taking to their heels to escape mandatory quarantining on claims the Golden Beach – a hotel converted to coronavirus isolation centre -is bed bug-ridden.
Over 300,000 people are infected with the virus across the globe with close to 15,000 deaths registered.