Gambia’s National Assembly voted on Friday, April 3, to extend the current State of Emergency for another 45 days. Under the State of Emergency, all bars, casinos, cinemas, event halls, gyms, night club, public swimming pools, and other non-essential businesses are closed. Restaurants are allowed to operate but only sell food for customers to take away. Additionally, all public gatherings, including open markets are suspended, along with school and university classes. Police officers will be deployed to enforce all regulations.
All flights, except for medical cargo flights, were suspended on March 23. The land border with Senegal has been closed except to essential supplies and security personnel. Commercial public transportation is restricted and drivers are to limit the number of passengers to no more than half the vehicle capacity. Drivers must disinfect their vehicles at the start and end of the close of business. Vehicles carrying commercial goods are only allowed to have one passenger in the cabin. Ferries and commercial boast can only operate between the hours of 06:00 and 19:00 (local time) daily.
As of April 3, four cases of COVID-19 and one associated fatality have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.