Gambia Confirms third case of Coronavirus

Director of Health & Promotion

By Ndey Sowe & Lamin Fatty (Basse)

The Gambia has on Tuesday 24th March, 2020 confirmed the third case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

This is the third case of Coronavirus that the Gambia has recorded, involving a 71-year old Gambian residing in Upper River Region (URR) in a village called Numuyel, who recently returned from France.

He arrived in the Gambia on the 17th March 2020 at 13:31hrs by TUI Arkefly (TFL458) and travelled to Numuyel, where fifty-eight passengers were onboard the fight.

Modou Njai- Director of Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health said manifestation of symptoms began on the 20th March 2020, and he first reported to the Basse District Hospital with symptoms such as abdominal and chest pain in the early hours of the 21st of March 2020.

“He was escorted to the hospital by two escorts who brought him on a motorcycle, he initially resisted sample collection”, Njai disclosed, adding that sample was collected on the 21st March after the intervention of the PIU.

Njai added that the sample was sent to MRC Gambia at Fajara for testing on the 22nd March, he tested positive on Monday 23rd March and a Red Cross ambulance was deployed for evacuation of the patient to the isolation and treatment center at MRC Gambia.

Njai said the next step is: “fumigation of the Basse District Hospital and tracing of contacts of the index cases is ongoing as well as a team of experts including personnel from the NPHL, EDC and DHEP will be sent to URR in order to reinforce response efforts.”

According to the regional director of health service for upper river region, Lamin Ceesay the man first reported to Numuyel clinic when he was seriously sick.

“The old man was first taken to Numuyel clinic by family members when he was seriously sick. The officer in charge at the clinic inquired about the man and realised that he came from France and then asked the family to take the patient to Banjul since the clinic has no equipment to handle such cases,” Director Ceesay explained.

He also added that the immediate family of the patient are right now quarantined in that compound by security officers.

“As I am talking to you right now the immediate family of the patient are quarantined in that compound and the security officers are guarding them so that nobody goes out or comes in while the special team is on the way to take samples from family members for laboratory test,” adding “the said old man came from France on the same flight with his biological son who is also among those quarantined with the rest of the family right now in the compound in the village of Numuyel,” Ceesay revealed.

A neighbour close to this family told Foroyaa that this man came from France and has been interacting with people in the village including his family members, friends and neighbours.

“This man came from France and has been interacting with family members, friends and neighbours; hence he tested positive, I’m afraid,” the neighbour remarked.

As of 23rd March 2020, 27 African countries including the Gambia reported confirmed cases of COVID-19. Senegal (the Gambia’s only immediate neighbour) reported 67 cases. Other countries in the sub-region who reported cases include Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Ivory Coast. The first sets of cases in affected African countries were imported. However, local transmission is now on the increase.