Gambia conducting free coronavirus tests for citizens

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Up to 100 people are to be tested for coronavirus each week in The Gambia’s capital city, Banjul.

Mayor Rohey Lowe said the tests will be free of charge in the city that has a population of more than 400,000 people.

“We must know our health status to protect our family, friends and community. We will be testing between 50-100 people weekly. We are not able to do daily testing due to human resource constraints,” she told the BBC.

The Gambia’s weak healthcare system has struggled to cope with the pandemic. President Adama Barrow last week declared a state of emergency – shutting border crossings and airspace.

He also imposed nationwide night-time curfew for 21 days that will end on 26 August.

The country has recorded more than 1,500 cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, and the capital is thought to be at risk of recording higher numbers.

“Banjul is highly vulnerable due to the ferry terminal and major public places. However, with the efforts that have been made since the declaration of the state of public emergency, we will continue the awareness creation and ensure that the regulations are followed,” the mayor said.

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