Gambia: Bundung Markass Faces Lockdown Amid Covid-19 Death

24 March 2020

Plans are afoot to fumigate and lock down the entire Markass premises as Gambia's second case of covid-19 was identified from the said premises, director of Health Promotion told reporters on Monday.

He noted that fumigation and shutdown of Markass where the second case was identified is an executive directive to suspend congregational prayers and should be implemented or enforced.

He said the second patient who died of the virus had no epidemiological link to the index case cumulatively.

He said a 70-year-old male, a Bangladesh national arrived in The Gambia by A' Sky Airline, with three other people on 14 March, 2020. He departed Bangladesh on 4 March and passed through Thailand on 5 March, Ethiopia 6 March and Malawi 7-10 March where they attended a religious conference.

He went back to Ethiopia on 10 March, Mali 11 March and arrived in Senegal 11 March and spent three days at the airport in Senegal on transit before leaving for The Gambia on the 14 March 2020.

He added that the deceased was a resident at Bundung Markass, a closely religious community. Since his arrival in the country, he first reported to the OPD of Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital with mild symptoms on 19 March. He reported back to the said hospital the following day 20 March with severe pneumonia-like symptoms; the deceased was a known diabetic.

Mr. Njai further explained that the patient was referred to Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) (brought in dead) on the 20 March, sample was collected at the EFSTH mortuary and transported to Medical Research Council (MRCG) laboratories on 21 March where positive test result came out on 22 March.

"Incident manager and the team visited Markass immediately and the other three Bangladesh nationals and nine other associates are currently on quarantine," he said.

According to him, three nurses, a doctor and orderly from Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital who met the patient are also among those on quarantine. Samples would be collected from all high risk contacts.

Director of health promotion added that tracing of contact of the index case is ongoing, mandatory quarantine of all passengers arriving from hotspot countries and testing of all suspects meeting the case definition.

He further said plans are on the way to quarantine all staff who have had contact with the deceased, fumigate Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital, EFSTH mortuary and the ambulance that carried the corpse.

Sample reporting system to be developed and implemented with immediate effect. Sop for burial to be developed and disseminated. Njai added that logistician responsible for receiving passengers at airport must reconcile flight with the actual number of passengers received. He said this should be facilitated by airlines, GCAA and airport immigration.

He said a total number of 20 laboratory test were conducted and a total of 131 persons have been screened and placed under mandatory quarantine. Follow ups on a total of 310 people have been completed and have since reintegrated into society and resumed their normal duties.

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