Omicron Variant: Gambia Updates Entry Requirements Again

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By Nelson Manneh

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday, 15 December, 2021 updated the entry requirements into The Gambia in respect to COVID-19 response, effecting from 16 December.

This update came barely a week after the first update was announced effective 11 December, 2021.

The ministry of health stated in a dispatch that the move is in line with the current status of the discovery of the new coronavirus variant—Omicron-in some countries around the world. This new variant is yet to be identified in The Gambia.

The following categories exist:

Category I: Fully vaccinated Passengers; Passengers who have been fully vaccinated do not need a PCR test to enter into the Gambia. Such travelers are advised on self-monitored isolation and avail themselves to the testing centers for RDT test should in case they notice any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or could call 1025 for enquiry.

However, the dispatch further states that if such individuals have signs or symptoms similar to those of COVID-19, they will be required to undergo Rapid Diagnostic Test for COVID-19 at the airport upon arrival.

This category does not apply to hot spot countries for Omicron variant who needs further screening as given in category III.

Category II: Non-Vaccinated or Partially Vaccinated individuals; All these individuals will need a negative PCR test report valid within 72hrs for entry into the country. Passengers from countries considered as hotspot for the Delta Variant will, in addition, undergo a Rapid Diagnostic Test at the Airport upon arrival. List of such countries will be periodically updated.

The list of Delta Variant hotspot countries based on our national guidelines are as follows:

LIST OF COUNTRIES

United Kingdom               USA                                                  Netherlands                       Italy                                                                     

Denmark                           Japan                                         Belgium                            Germany                                                                  Japan                                France

Turkey                             Australia                                        Ireland                              Sweden                                                                   Portugal                            India

Canada                            Switzerland                                        South Africa                    Finland

Spain                                Slovenia                               

Category III: the release stated that passengers from countries considered as Hotspot for the Omicron variant will need proof of a negative PCR test report. In addition, the traveler will be taken to the quarantine at their own cost for PCR Test to be conducted on them. Such traveler will remain under quarantine until the result come out. List of such countries will be periodically updated.

The list of Omicron variant Hotspot countries based on our national guidelines are as follows:

LIST OF COUNTRIES

South Africa                             Mozambique                                                                             Botswana                                  Namibia

Eswatini                                    Lesotho                                 

Zambia                                    Angola                                 

Malawi                                    Zimbabwe

Category IV: Children: Children 10 years and below from hotspot countries for Delta Variant are allowed to travel to the Gambia and upon arrival will be tested at the airport using RDT. However, children from hotspot countries for Omicron variant will be tested using PCR Test.

Health authorities informed the general public that all departing passengers will be required to adhere to COVID-19 testing requirement for the destination countries upon confirmation by the Port Health Officers or airline representatives as might be published.