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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Travellers to Touba ‘Magaal’ could face quarantine unless…

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By Omar Bah

The government has urged those planning to travel to Senegal for the Maagal to be cautious as Senegal continues to battle coronavirus.

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The government in a statement said anyone who insists on travelling to Senegal would then have to provide a negative coronavirus test result or risk mandatory quarantine at his own cost.

“As the annual pilgrimage; the ‘Grand Maagal’ in memory of the late Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba of Touba, Senegal, approaches, the public, especially, those planning to attend are hereby urged to adhere to the guidelines and quarantine protocols governing isolation and testing,” the statement signed by government spokesperson stated yesterday.

The statement added: “All are reminded that COVID-19 remains one of the most frequent cases of consultations at health facilities across our sub region. It is recommended that individuals at high risk for COVID-19 either due to their age or pre-existing medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension and respiratory problems, refrain from public gatherings. Therefore, based on its professional judgment, The Ministry of Health hereby discourages intending travellers from attending the ‘Maagal’ as Senegal continues to battle COVID-19.”

“However, those who defy this advisory shall provide respective negative PCR test results on COVID-19 within 72 hours upon their return before they are allowed re-entry into the country. Those who fail to provide negative PCR tests at the border entry points shall undergo mandatory quarantine at their own cost. The quarantine period, to be at Government recognized facilities only, could be up to 3 days and may cost some D6,900 or even more, depending on duration and individual circumstances.

 

Reactions

Meanwhile, the Gambia Moral Congress leader Mai Fatty has reacted to the government’s statement, accusing the Barrow administration of not taking Covid-19 health measures very seriously.

“This is one of the most senile and hypocritical public notice so far. Based on the acts of public encouragement by the State and the NPP to disregard public health regulations, no institution or authority within the government has the moral or legal authority to issue such irresponsible public notice. The entire world bears testimony that the current tour of the Head of State with the massive crowds it attracts, intentionally defies all health regulations, with impunity,” he said.

He continued: “The timing of such an ill-advised tour during the pandemic, and the intentional failure of State authorities to enforce the Covid Regulations against the Executive delegates with the massive crowds that grace their functions, have deprived the State the temerity to preach safety. This reckless political tour during this pandemic, intended purely for campaign consequences, means officially 2021 campaigns have begun.”

“Throughout the tour, not a single policy statement was uttered…it’s all about political campaign vibes, stories, etc. Clearly, this tour is intended to distract attention from the public backlash arising out of the disgraceful draft constitution 2020 fiasco. It demonstrates, unquestionably, that this government cares more about self-perpetuating rule than the lives of Gambians,” he added.

Fatty said just like how the government killed its own draft constitution 2020 bill in parliament, “the same government is willfully violating its own the Covid regulations. No one should take them seriously because they don’t take themselves seriously. The public should resist all legal attempts at selective enforcement. It’s against the equal protection clause and unconstitutional. Lastly, I urge all citizens to take the health measures seriously and help protect their communities.”

was uttered…it’s all about political campaign vibes, stories, etc. Clearly, this tour is intended to distract attention from the public backlash arising out of the disgraceful draft constitution 2020 fiasco. It demonstrates, unquestionably, that this government cares more about self-perpetuating rule than the lives of Gambians,” he added.

Fatty said just like how the government killed its own draft constitution 2020 bill in parliament, “the same government is willfully violating its own the Covid regulations. No one should take them seriously because they don’t take themselves seriously. The public should resist all legal attempts at selective enforcement. It’s against the equal protection clause and unconstitutional. Lastly, I urge all citizens to take the health measures seriously and help protect their communities.”

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