The Minister of Health on Tuesday announced on national television that a young Gambian lady who traveled back into the country from the United Kingdom has tested positive of the feared coronavirus and is currently at the Medical Research Council (MRC) receiving treatment.
This is the first registered case of the disease since it appeared in the world a few months ago.
The Gambia was one of the very few countries in the world that was supposedly free of the virus. That enviable position is gone forever.
What is left now is to work hard to manage and control the virus so that it will not spread further in the country. In that direction, President Barrow has announced a range of measures to help curb the virus.
The president announced the closure of all schools in the country. This includes universities, ‘daras’, Madrasas and all other schools all in an effort to prevent further spread of the disease.
In addition to that, he announced a ban on all gatherings of people including ‘lumos’, open markets, religious and other gatherings which can be a cause for the further circulation of this virus.
These measures; however, welcome as they are, have begun to have some serious consequences on the economic lives of the people of the country. For instance, people have started hoarding some essential commodities with a view to raising the prices and making more money to the detriment of the Gambian people. This is wrong and should be looked into by the authorities.
It is for this reason also that prices of goods have soared and most ordinary Gambians will soon be unable to provide for themselves and their families. The fact that many people are now stockpiling commodities will contribute to this problem.
Also, there are many of the folks in this country who live from hand to mouth and therefore earn daily the sources of their food. The banning of ‘lumos’ and gatherings will immediately deprive such people of the ability to feed their families. What will the government do about those thousands of Gambians in the face of this corona pandemic?