By Omar Bah
The Government spokesperson, Ebrima Sankareh, has announced that Gambians will be required to wear masks effective Friday as authorities scale up efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Sankareh who made this disclosure at a weekly inter-ministerial press conference hosted by MOICI at GRTS building, said the police will start enforcing the order by Friday.
The government’s decision came on the heels of a scary surge of Covid-19 cases in the country as health authorities revealed consecutive records showed the largest single situational reports of 14 and 15 Covid-19 cases.
According to Sankareh, the decision was endorsed by the Covid-19 committee during a meeting held at the vice president’s office.
“The mandatory mask order has already been gazetted, and will enter into force next week and it is part of mitigation measures signed into law by President Adama Barrow to be enforced by the Police.
“Mask wearing is now mandatory in The Gambia,” he added.
The country has 93 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and over 600 people have reportedly been quarantined in government-funded facilities.
Also speaking at the press conference, the Minister of Information Ebrima Sillah said the ministry of higher education has recently paid D12, 900, 000 to non-government funded Gambian students studying abroad.
“A total 836 Gambian students from different parts of the world benefited from this package with a $300 one of payment. Currently the ministry of higher education is pursuing additional funds to support the remaining sets of students who are yet to receive help in the first phase. Similarly, the higher education ministry was able to fast-track the annual stipend for the academic year 2019-2020 amounting to D16 million for 321 students. These students are the ones who have gone through the ministry’s bilateral cooperation and are not supposed to benefit through the Covid-19 support. They are in Sudan, India, Tunisia, Morocco and Indonesia,” he added.
GAF firing range
Minister said further said “as part of efforts to address growing concerns over the location of the Gambia armed forces firing range at Brikama Jamisa – the services of experts from the British army were engaged and they have done some feasibility studies in some areas within the country side for possible relocation of the range.”
Sillah said a taskforce has been launched to facilitate the availability of Tabaski rams to ease movement and sale of rams in this era of Covid-19.
“The objective of this endeavor is to discuss and agree on modalities for accessibility and affordability of rams,” he said.