Mayor Bensouda amplifies Presidential Decree banning public gatherings

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Kanifing municipal council mayor, Talib Ahmed Bensouda is one of the latest politicians to join president Adama Barrow’s last week announcement of banning all public gatherings as a measure to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, Mr Bensouda wrote to the inspector general of police requesting for his office support to fully enforce the suspension of public gatherings in the light of the global health threatening disease which has been declared as pandemic by the world health Organisation.

President Adama barrow declared a ban on all public gatherings on march 17 as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the virus among people. So far, The Gambia has registered two cases of the virus on a 28-year-old female Gambian who entered the country from the United Kingdom and a 70-year-old Bangladeshi man who eventually passed away.

“All gatherings should be stopped. We have written to the police and emphasized the need for the enforcement of the ban to them. People don’t take things seriously that is why they are acting like this. It is human nature that we do not care when something did not directly affect us,” Bensouda told Eyeafrica TV’s Ebrima Bah on Tuesday.

He said he is worried because Kanifing Municipality is a densely populated and the biggest municipality in the country, saying he is not sure people are unwilling to comply but their actions are based on human nature.

Last week, government announced the total closure of all borders with effect from Monday midnight over lapses in the enforcement of the compulsory quarantine for travelers from all corona virus hotpots into the country.

Since the confirmation of the first COVID – 19 case, health ministry has been under pressure in the management of travelers 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 people who entered the country via the Banjul International Airport are reported to have absconded from a quarantine centre that was arranged by the Ministry of Health and went into the community.

Mayor Bensouda described president Barrow’s decision to ban public gathering as a timely decision, suggesting for religious gatherings like gathering for prayers to also cease. “I am not going against people going out but what he is saying is that the presidential decree to ban public gathering is important and a first good step to prevent and control COVID-19.”

He said he is aware that people cannot may not maintain washing their hands every day and every time but they can help in preventing coronavirus, saying it is not about politics but everyone must play their part in the fight against the pandemic.

He also suggests for the transport sector to also start considering to reduce the number of people they carry.

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