Gambian authorities have eased certain restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Oct. 15. The related nationwide state of emergency expired Sept. 17.
Authorities ended the nationwide nightly curfew, and all markets have been allowed to operate 0600-1800 following the edict's expiration. Nonessential shops have also resumed regular operations, including hotels, motels, lodges, bars, restaurants, video clubs, museums, public swimming pools and gyms. Nightclubs and casinos remain closed. All businesses that reopen must adhere to strict hygiene and social-distancing measures. Schools and educational institutions have also been allowed to reopen. Limited religious gatherings are permitted provided health protocols are adhered to. The use of protective face coverings is mandatory in public spaces.
Authorities have relaxed restrictions on international air travel from Oct. 10. All travelers must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before arriving in the country. There are currently no quarantine or isolation measures in place unless travelers exhibit symptoms of the disease. Authorities have hinted at the possibility of reopening land borders in the coming days. The closure does not apply to freight or security personnel.
Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
Background and Analysis
Gambian authorities have eased the country's restrictions as local transmission rates have reportedly stabilized. Gambia's restrictions are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent months 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.
Reconfirm all travel plans. 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. 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.