By Ndey Sowe
The Government of the Gambia through the Ministry of Health has confirmed the first death from the Coronavirus (COVID 19) in the country.
The deceased is the second confirmed case who had no epidemiological link to the index case following a twenty eight year old Gambian Female who returned from London and developed fever on the 16th of March 2020 and tested positive at the MRC Labs on the same date.
This information was disclosed yesterday when Officers at the Ministry of health and the World Health Organization (WHO) call for a press briefing on the current situation of the Corona virus and COVID 19, held at the Central Medial Stores in Kotu.
According to authorities, a seventy year old male Bangladeshi national arrived in the Gambia by ‘Sky’ Airlines with three others on the 14th of March 2020 but died on the 20th of March when he was referred to EFSTH.
Modou Njai, the Director of Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health said a sample was collected from the seventy year old Bangladeshi at the EFSTH mortuary and transported to the MRC Laboratories where test results proved positive; that the deceased departed Bangladesh on the 4th of March and passed through Thailand, Ethiopia and Malawi where he attended a religious conference and returned to Ethiopia from where he came to Mali and arrived in Senegal where he spent three days on transit, before arriving in the Gambia on 14th March 2020.
“They were picked up from the airport by two vehicles and he was residing at Bundung Markaz, a close religious community, since his arrival in the country,” Njie disclosed; that the seventy year old Bangladeshi first reported at the OPD of the Bundung Maternity and Child Health Hospital with mild symptoms on the 19th of March.
Njie said the deceased was a known diabetic and reported back to the above named hospital the following day with severe pneumonia-like symptoms; that the incident Manager and team visited Markaz immediately and isolated three other Bangladeshi nationals and nine other associates; that three other nurses and a doctor and an orderly from the Bundung Maternity and Child Health Hospital who met the patient, are also among those quarantined; that samples will be collected from all high-risk contacts with plans to fumigate and lock down the entire Markaz premises.