Health Ministry confirms first cases of India’s COVID-19 variant in The Gambia

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA:- The Gambia has detected its first cases of the so-called Indian variant of the COVID-19 virus, in two people who travelled into the country on 18th April, Health Ministry said Thursday.

In a statement, the ministry said: “Ministry of Health (MoH) in response to COVID-19 continues to monitor all new Corona virus variants from UK, South Africa and of recent the variant identified in India (B.1.617). This is to inform the general public that, the Ministry of Health (MoH) surveillance system detected two travelers who arrived in the Gambia on 18th April, 2021. The two travelers were tested with Rapid Diagnostic Test (STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Test) at the Airport upon arrival and both tested negative.

“As per Ministry of Health (MoH) protocol, travelers with Rapid Diagnostic Test negative results at Airport are allowed to self-isolate at home. Home isolation is a 14-day self-monitored quarantine with a condition to report for testing if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Recently the two travelers arriving from India fell ill after two weeks and reported to a health facility for testing and were found to be positive. Their samples were sequenced and the results were found to be the new variant identified in India.”                                                                                                                                    

According to the ministry, seven of their family members also tested positive but are in isolation receiving treatment.

The ministry added: “The general public is therefore notified of the updates on our testing and quarantine protocol. Henceforth, all travelers from India must arrive in The Gambia with a negative PCR test valid for 72hrs. All such travelers will be quarantined for a maximum of 72hrs at their own cost to enable sample collection and PCR testing.

“The testing regime at the Airport for travelers coming from all hotspot countries will be intensified.  Those with positive Rapid Diagnostic Test will be quarantined for a maximum of 72hrs at their own cost and they will further undergo PCR testing.  It is important to note that the PCR testing for arriving travelers is free of charge.”

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