The Gambia government has imposed 90 days of lockdown as it battles to flatten the rising rate of coronavirus cases in the country.

The President is in self-isolation after the Vice President Dr Isatou Touray became the most high profiled government official to test positive for coronavirus yesterday.

The new compulsory regulations include wearing of masks – and closure of non-essential public places and prohibition of public gatherings.

“In exercise of the powers conferred on the Minister of Health by ‘Regulation No. 6’ of the Public Health (Dangerous Infectious Diseases) Protection Regulations, 2020, The Gambia Government announces the compulsory wearing of face masks, temporary closure of non-essential public places and the prohibition of public and social gatherings.

“Effective immediately, these new Regulations will subsist for a period of 90 days subject to expert review and modification by the Health Minister at anytime as dictated by the circumstances and trajectory of the Covid-19 virus in The Gambia,” Government said in a statement.

“Citation of Face Masking Order

This Order may be cited as the Compulsory Wearing of Face Masks Order, 2020 and is governed by the following regulations:

(1) All persons shall wear a face mask over their nose and mouth in all public places and at all times.

(2) A driver of a motor vehicle or operator of a ferry or vessel shall ensure that all passengers wear a face mask before embarking on the vehicle, ferry or vessel.

(3) The owner or manager of a public or private premises or shops shall ensure that all persons entering such premises or shops wear a face mask.

(4) The Area Council or Municipality of every area where a market is situated shall ensure that all persons entering a market wear a face mask.

(5) In this Order, “public place” includes any public or highway and any other premises or place(s) to which at the material time, members of the public have or are permitted to have access,” the statement added.

But government also announced the exemption of “children under the age of two; persons with a medical condition that makes it difficult to wear a face mask; persons who are hearing impaired, or are communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, and where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication,persons who are unable to put on or remove a face mask without assistance. 

Reporting by Adama Makasuba 

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