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Debate for extension of State of Public Emergency adjourned

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By Arfang M.S. Camara

Deputies at the National Assembly have adjourned their Friday debate for the extension of the State of Public Emergency in the country due to Coronavirus pandemic.

Following a rough debate at the National Assembly building in Banjul, the Lawmakers unanimously agreed to reconvene on Saturday to finalise on the extension proposal.

The initial forty-five days period of the State of Public Emergency will end on Saturday 16th May 2020 at mid-night but the government wants an extension.

Meanwhile, our source told us that the government wants to extend the state of Public emergency to another 45 days.

The Assembly’s special select committee on the implementation of the State of Public Emergency presented a report in which it recommend for the State of Public Emergency to be extended to a further 21 days subject to strict adherence of the implementation of the all the State of Public Emergency regulations.

The report also recommend for a regulation to be in place to make it an offence for anyone, transport or compound owner, who assist any unauthorized traveler to enter the country or harbor any visitor or guest from abroad in his or her compound without notifying the health authorities (1025) toll line.

“A regulation making it an offence for anyone who enters the country and refuse to be quarantine; all such illegal entrants shall bear the cost associated with their quarantine.”

The special committee also noted that the closure of all borders must be fully enforced with the deployment of armed and security forces, adding that the army should be used to reinforce the regional taskforces in the implementation and regulations.

The recommendation of the Special committee also said that the ministry of Interior, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health should ensure that the quarantine and isolation centers are off-bound to visitors 24/7.

“The Ministry of the Interior should be equipped with more vehicles and communication equipment to allow them to go to any part of the country to enforce the regulations.”

The report added that: “the Ministry of Finance may need to revise the 2020 budget to give more support to the operational activities of the Ministry of Health in the fight against covid-19; temperature checks and screening before new entrants interact with any security official.”

The fact that the epidemics and pandemics are on the rise globally, the committee recommended there is a need for the building of well-equipped and fully resourced permanent treatment centers in all regions as well as isolation centers at all border points to better prepare for the future.

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