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City of Banjul
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Reopening the airport: is it a good idea?

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A flight carrying one hundred and fifty passengers landed at the Banjul International Airport on Tuesday. The flight is said to have originated from Brussels in Belgium. Officials reveal that all the passengers were taken straight to designated places to be quarantined for the next two weeks.

Some citizens have however expressed fear that the reopening of the airport will bring an influx of coronavirus cases which is already on a hike. The Gambia now has forty-one cases of coronavirus recorded.

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Reports have it that when the flight landed, officials from the Ministry of Health were on hand to arrange for their transportation to the quarantine centres where they will be for the duration. No one was allowed to go and self-quarantine.

It is not clear where all the one hundred and fifty passengers were coming from and that poses a problem as many European countries have been so overwhelmed by the coronavirus that it is not clear who is carrying the virus and who is not.

It has been observed that majority of the forty-one cases of the virus recorded in The Gambia are imported and one would have thought that the best way to deal with the situation therefore is to keep the borders and airport closed.

Witnesses also say that when the flight landed, many people who are stranded here, rushed to join the flight in a bid to go back to their countries as it was the coronavirus lockdown that kept them here.

An increase in the going and coming in and out of the country is likely to also cause an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the Gambia. As the healthcare system of the country is not very strong and effective, this is likely to cause serious challenges to the government.

Of course the issue of finance and economics will compel government to reopen the airport but it should be done in a systematic way with strict safety regulations to avoid a spread of the virus from those coming into The Gambia.

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