The recent death of a healthcare worker from the coronavirus may have been an unfortunate event about which we, along with the rest of the nation, are very sorry. But it should serve as concrete evidence, if the previous two deaths are not enough, to convince us that Covid-19 is real and dangerous and it exists in our country.
This new realisation should wake us from our slumber to take practical measures to prevent our country from a potential disaster.
Ever since the pandemic broke and despite the numerous advice and directives given by government and even the daily gloomy reports of the devastation it has caused in Europe and America, most Gambians, in our typical carefree attitude and misplaced sanctuary in our religious beliefs, take Covid-19 to be just another international news item from a remote place with no bearings on our existence here. Few people believe it exists. Fewer still believe the disease is right here in The Gambia because they have not seen one dying or suffering from it. All the daily press briefings are viewed as political money-making gimmicks by the government-itself not totally free from blame over shoddy enforcement of the restriction orders- while others simply accept it as God’s punishment for the wayward behavior of human beings as predicted in religious holy books. Even now market places, beaches, fish markets, weddings and naming ceremonies continue to be flooded with people with hardly any protective or preventive gears, in flagrant violations of the guidelines.
No wonder the country is experiencing a gradual but scary spike of the virus which can no longer be blamed on returning overseas travelers or foreigners. Apart from Wuhan in China all coronavirus cases in the world have been imported with some countries even out numbering its country of origin.
The Gambia is spared from the initial surge in the Covid-19 cases only and largely because of our minimal travel or contact with China but there are now 61 cases in a small country like ours.Isn’t that enough to scare us to change? Just howmany more deaths would we have to see before we can believe and behave responsibly?