Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities extend nationwide state of emergency in Gambia for 45 days to halt the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Gambia

This alert began 04 Apr 2020 08:08 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities extended a state of emergency across Gambia for 45 days as part of efforts to control the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) April 3. The measure, initially implemented March 27, necessitates the suspension of all non-essential services. This suspension will support other measures already in place, such as the closure of borders. Authorities have stated that the closures and emergency measures will not affect essential services, such as the movement of security personnel, foodstuffs, medical services, and equipment between Senegal and Gambia. The government has also stated that it has closed its airspace to commercial travel, excluding cargo and humanitarian flights, effective March 23. Further movement restriction measures are likely in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
Gambia implemented travel restrictions following a number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Gambia is almost surrounded by Senegal, with an 80 km (50 miles) coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The measures taken correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Advice
Reconfirm all travel details. Follow all official directives. Abide by national health and safety measures. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Prepare for freight delivery disruptions. Consider delaying or detouring goods. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/

Ministry of Health Gambia: http://www.moh.gov.gm/