West and Central Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Trends

The Gambia

State of emergency extended for three weeks

  • First case: 17 March 2020

  • Total cases: 132 (as of 23 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 5

  • Schools: Closed

  • Borders/flights: All borders closed.

  • Containment measures: On 15 July, the Government of the Gambia extended the National State of Emergency for an additional 7 days, effective until 22 July. Although the State of Emergency is currently still in effect, the government announced an easing of restrictions on 4 June reopening markets, mosques (as of 5 June), and churches (as of 7 June). Other restrictions – including school closures, border closures, and social gathering limitations – remain in place.

Situation

The President declared a state of emergency starting 27 March including closing all non-essential public and private businesses following the earlier order to close the airspace and land borders.The state of emergency has been extended until 22 July, allowing exceptional measures to fight COVID-19. The head of state said he was aware of the impact of the restrictions on the population, but stressed that the fight against the pandemic was a matter of survival. Despite the small number of cases, the Gambia suffers economically from closed borders and stopping tourism.

Response:

Donor agencies, including UNDP, WFP, WHO, FAO, UNICEF, UNFP and UNICEF, have focused financial assistance (about $1.5 million cumulatively) to strengthen social assistance support for programs aimed at vulnerable groups impacted by COVID-19 by improving communication, safeguarding nutrition and ensuring food security. On 2 April, The World Bank approved a US$10 million grant for the COVID-19 Response and Preparedness Project to enhance case detection, tracing, prevention, and social distancing communication as well as the provision of equipment to isolation and treatment centres. The World Bank is accelerating the rollout of its Social Safety Net project to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable population. The European commission provided at the end of April a EUR 9 million COVID-19 support to the Gambia.

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