The Gambia Army chief is in self-isolation after a woman on his Royal Air Maroc flight from Morocco tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Major General Yankuba Drammeh was one of several passengers that were contact traced by health officials and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. 

The chief of Defence Staff, who retuned to Banjul last Sunday after an official trip to France, reported to work on Monday. 

On Tuesday he took over command of the Gambia National Army at a handing over ceremony in Banjul attended by senior army and government officials. He replaced General Masaneh Kinteh, who was sacked last week by President Barrow, as the chief of Defence Staff. 

General Drammeh has not tested positive for the coronavirus but has been asked by health officials to self-isolate. Concerns were raised by some members of the public that the army chief was not complying with the health guidelines and might be unwittingly putting others in harms way. 

The Gambia National Army released a statement yesterday clarifying the reason why the chief of Defence Staff was on self-isolation. 

“The Chief of Defence Staff was advised that in accordance with WHO protocols on COVID – 19 virus prevention, all those on board the flight including him have to self-isolate themselves for a period of 14 days as a preventive measure. Without hesitation, Major General Drammeh complied with the advice and started the self-isolation immediately.

“However, it has to be made categorically clear that the decision by the Chief of Defence Staff to self-isolate was to show not only strict adherence to statutory health protocols but more importantly exemplary leadership on his part.”

The statement denied reports that the former CDS General Masaneh Kinteh wore a pair of gloves during the handing over ceremony due to fears about coronavirus. 

“Lieutenant General Kinteh was dressed in this attire because the ceremony was about him and not a preventive measure by the outgoing CDS against the COVID-19 virus (as reported by some media outlets); the white gloves are part of the ceremonial dress in the military.”

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