Unlike HIV/AIDS which is not transmitted by shaking hands, COVID-19 is highly contagious. Inhaling droplets while a person is coughing, sneezing or even talking, if those chatting are in closed, one could become infected. In the same vein, a person could transfer the virus through hand shake.
This is why people are advised to wash hands, use sanitizers to disinfect hands, desist from touching their mouth with infected hands or avoid getting infected by droplets from the mouths of infected persons. Advice is also given to employ social distancing. This may not be the right word to use to explain what is meant. What is really meant is for people to maintain a safe distance to avoid infection.
The Gambia had one case by 17th March 2020. The symptoms were explained for people to know when to call the number for assistance should they observe them.
A state of emergency was declared with regulation to manage social gatherings to maintain safe distance between people and oblige the state and local government authorities to sanitize public facilities such as markets, garages and ferry terminals. Borders were ordered to be closed and people quarantined before entry.
These simple measures were disregarded and today the highest office in the land is under threat. National Assembly members are also not spared.
Mass institutional tests of MRCG and Sharab Medical Centre Staff reveal infections of frontline defenders. Tests by MRCG and NPHL are increasingly showing positive results of increase in infection of Gambians and other persons of European, middle -eastern and Asian origin. Proprietors of restaurants, expatriates, Senior Laboratory Scientists and Assistants, health practitioners at large have all tested positive. Deaths are increasing. The Gambian people should know that the country is not an isolated case. The USA now records more than 150,000 deaths. The number may increase to 182,000 by the end of August.
It is hoped that the wakeup call will compel all Gambians to speak with one voice and act with one objective to defeat COVID-19 and save our people.