No coronavirus in Gambia, Health Ministry declares

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Ministry of Health on Monday at a press conference declared that there is no COVID-19 coronavirus case in The Gambia.

Modou Njai, director of Health Promotion and Education at the Health Ministry said that the country’s status remains unchanged about the deadly outbreak of coronavirus.

He rubbished the rumour which suggested that there was a coronavirus case in the country, saying The Gambia has not registered any suspected cases of coronavirus.

“The information about the Gambia’s suspected case on coronavirus is false and it has not happened,” he affirmed. “The signs and symptoms possessed by that particular person does not get closer to coronavirus and is not even a suspect.”

He said that the Health Ministry is working very hard to strengthen its surveillance system at the borders. He revealed that presently they have posted public officers at both air and sea ports as part of surveillance strengthening mechanism.

“Before these people were posted, they were having 24hrs shift to monitor people that were coming into the country. IOM is supporting us with capacity building training not only for health workers but for some security personnel as well,” he declared.

On his part, Dr. Desta A. Tiruneh, WHO representative, said the cases of coronavirus in China are showing a decline, while the number of cases outside China is on the rise.

“There are three confirmed African countries about the cases of coronavirus such as Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria. But the level of WHO preparedness efforts are going on and WHO is supporting countries to prepare for any eventuality about the virus,” he said.

“We would be receiving some protective equipment very soon for Gambia to also prepare for any eventuality. Partners in the country are willing to join us to support government in fighting against any diseases or virus,” he said.

Sanna Sambou, Programme coordinator, Disease Control Department, in a presentation, explained that the coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiration Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiration Syndrome (SARS).

“Coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Some transmit easily from person to person, while others do not.”

Among the signs and symptoms, he said, is fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, pneumonia, severe acute respiration syndrome and kidney failure.

Author: Arfang M.S. Camara