Gambia Registers First COVID–19 Death

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: A Bangladeshi national who travelled into The Gambia via COVID–19 hit neighbouring Senegal on March 13, has died of the virus on Sunday, the health minister Dr Ahmad Lamin Samateh has announced.

The 70-year-old man is the second to be test positive of COVID–19 after the confirmation of the first case on a female Gambian who entered in the country through the airport from the United Kingdom one week ago.

Health minister Samateh said the Bangladeshi man was a non-diabetic who present at a health facility in diabetic key to acidosis and was later referred to the country’s teaching hospital but died on the ambulance before arriving. ‘Sample was taken from him and the result confirmed positive.’

He had been in the West African nation on an Islamic preaching mission through which he reportedly interacted with scholars and students in addition to his attendance of a congregational prayers on Friday.

Minister Samateh revealed that seventeen people have absconded from the quarantine centers which is posing a great risk on their families and general public, instructing them to report back to the quarantine sites immediately and failure to do so will lead to the application of the law which may include arresting them.

He however assured that active contact tracing is on and ‘we urge everyone who interacted with the man to call the toll-free number 1025 for further advice. The foreign ministry is informed about it and the message will be conveyed to his country.’

The government has announced the total closure of all borders with effect from Monday midnight over lapses in the enforcement of the compulsory quarantine for travellers from all coronavirus hotspots into the country.

Since the confirmation of the first COVID – 19 case, health ministry has been under pressure in the management of travellers at all entry posts. The country initially limited suspension of flights from thirteen countries with additional measure to quarantine arrivals from any of the Coronavirus hit countries across the world but the aftermath of this policy seemed to subject Gambians to extreme risk of the spread of the disease.

Fourteen passengers via the Banjul International Airport broke the gate of a quarantine centre arranged by the Ministry of Health and fetched their ways into the community.

The Directorate of Health Promotion and Education on Saturday condemned the act and warned that all those in the list of suspected cases would be traced and subjected to arrest.

“Currently there are one hundred and twenty-four people on quarantine at various location [out of which] seventeen have absconded the centres posing a great risk to their families and the public”, says the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Lamin Samateh on Sunday evening.

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