By Momodou Jarju
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, has disclosed that they would not impose travel and trade restrictions on China amid the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The ministry said in a press statement that the minister of the aforesaid ministry, Dr. mamadou Tangara made the remarks in an audience in his office, Banjul with the Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Ma Jainchum.
Minister Tangara told Ambassador Ma that the Government of The Gambia appreciates and is grateful to efforts employed by China in containing the epidemic and the support China continues to render to Gambians in Wuhan among other provinces.
He said The Gambia fully recognize and highly appreciate effective response to the coronavirus outbreak and shared Gambia’s solidarity with the Government and People of China during this difficult moment. The minister highlighted that The Gambia shares the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recognition as well as other collaborating partners’ response in tackling the coronavirus.
“Minister Tangara therefore assured Ambassador Ma that The Gambia will abide by WHO’s recommendation for countries not to impose travel or trade restrictions on China. Tangara however said as a country, the Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Health will continue to strengthen its surveillance system in all entry points to ensure the safety of people living in The Gambia,” the statement said.
Minister Tangara informed the public that his ministry is closely in contact with Embassy staff in Beijing who have reported that no Gambian is infected with the virus, adding that they are working with relevant Government Departments and other partners to ensure that the necessary provisions are provided to Gambian citizens living in China.
“In order to ensure constant update on coronavirus, the Ministry has created the following service lines that can be contacted: +86 130 0119 5701 for Gambians in China, and +220 932 5988 for residents in Gambia,” the statement stated.
For his part, Ambassador Ma disclosed that there are 17,000 confirmed cases and 65 percent of which is concentrated in Wuhan province, the epicenter of the outbreak, the statement went on.
“He said the initial intervention made was to isolate affected persons whilst resources were being mobilized by the Chinese Government. He however said that some of the affected persons were discharged following positive response to treatment. He further informed that the Chinese Government has now mobilized medical teams across China, including military medical personnel to tackle the outbreak,” the statement said.
The statement added that as part of efforts to curb the outbreak, China built 1000-bed-hospital in 10 days and that another hospital with a capacity of 1300 beds will be ready on the 5th February 2020. Ambassador Ma said with the on-going efforts, there is optimism that the outbreak will be contained in the soonest possible time.
Meanwhile, Wuhan, a central city in China, is the epicenter of the deadly virus. The pneumonia-like illness outbreak was first reported by China on December, 30 last year. A cure has not been identified yet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global emergency as the deadly virus continued to spread but has not considered a pandemic. The WHO is hopeful that the transmission of the deadly virus can be contained.