State House, Banjul, 24th July 2020 : The Office of the President reminds the public that it has been five months since President Adama Barrow declared the first State of Public Emergency in The Gambia in accordance with the 1997 Constitution, to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since then, the President had issued series of public Emergency Declarations all geared towards ensuring that we contain the spread of the Corona Virus, reinforce the health response, assist the population with food and essential items and stimulate the economy. Present Barrow has been updated on the current realities as the experts continue to assess and monitor the health and socio-economic situation in the country.
As of Friday, 24th July, 2020, confirmed cases in the country stand at 170 with 101 active cases, 7 probable cases, 64 recovered patients. Unfortunately, five (5) people have lost their lives to COVID-19.
An assessment of the impact of scaling down on the Gambian economy has produced uncomfortable results. Accordingly, the economy will lose GMD2.5 billion and shrink by 3 percentage points- from the projected growth rate of 6.3 per cent in 2020 to 3.3 per cent.
Citizens are assured that safeguarding the lives of the people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable remains the immediate priority of President Barrow’s government and its partners. With 48.6% of our population of 2 million living below the poverty line, it is imperative that government, partners and citizens all take steps that will lessen the COVID-19 shock on the poverty level in the country and on vulnerable farming population as well as women and youth operating in the informal sector.
It is for this reason, and after consultation with health experts and the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Covid-19, that the President decided to lift the State of Public Emergency as of Wednesday night, 22 July 2020. While this decision is taken to reduce the hardship faced by households across the country and in consideration of other broader issues, The public is informed of the resumption of normal social and economic activities, albeit under stringent health and safety measures.
These measures include but not limited to observing strict social distancing rules, mandatory wearing of facemasks in all public places, including inside taxis and other public transports, markets and schools.
The Government has already gazetted the guidelines on the management of COVID-19 situation post emergency regulation. President Barrow calls on all Gambians to adhere to these guidelines and support health authorities in dealing with the pandemic. All are alerted that the security forces will not hesitate to enforce the guidelines especially in cases of repeated violations.
Public should be aware that although the emergency measures are lifted, the land, air and sea borders still remain closed. Government will continue to review the closure of the borders as the situation evolves.
The Government recognizes that the population may have to live with the virus for an extended period, until a vaccine or a cure is found. While the Government strengthens its response mechanisms to COVID-19 including putting in place robust and accelerated public sensitization efforts, The Gambia just like all other countries needs to open up to rebuild and sustain its economy.
President assures everyone that his Government will continue to uphold the tenets of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. However, the Government is also responsible for the protection and safety of the population.
Therefore, as normal social and economic activities resume, the Government will continue to monitor infection trends and will not hesitate to take any lawful means to address the situation if the rate of COVID-19 infections continue to rise.
President calls for the cooperation of all citizens and residents in The Gambia in curbing the coronavirus while endeavouring to build on the social and economic realities of our country.