“Ebola cannot divide us as a regional body” Says:- Salieu Njie (Health Worker)
The Gambian Government over the weekend surprisingly announced that it has lifted the travel ban (air, land and sea) on countries affected by the deadly Ebola virus.
The announcement which was referred to as positive by the Sierra Leonean community in the Gambia was read over the State Radio and Television Station (GRTS).
According to the authorities marked improvement had been observed on eradicating the virus that had affected the three worst hit countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea).
It should be noted that The Gambia, had not suffered any case of the Ebola epidemic but the presence of the virus in the sub region indirectly affected its Tourism industry and regional trade. The Gambian government had since the outbreak taken nationwide preventive measures including the banning of flights from affected countries in order to contain the spread.
As a result of the Ebola virus and its adverse effect on Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and in addition to the travel ban by neighboring countries and England especially, the decent reliable and low cost airline GAMBIA BIRD, serving the West African region and beyond had got cause to fold up its operations. That had resulted to the laying off of hundreds of staff in the affected countries, England and in Gambia itself where their Head Office is based.
Sierra Leone’s capital city Freetown that has been heavily hit by the virus had been the airline’s hub and central distributing point .GAMBIA BIRD no doubt could not had survived without Freetown, so as a result the inevitable (shut down) did happen.
Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to The Gambia, Soulayman Daramy for his part had on several occasions in meetings with The Gambian authorities shared up dates and stringent measures the Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma is taking to wipe out the epidemic.
For now the joy of the lifting of the ban is with the many citizens who indeed miss seeing their family members and loved ones back home (including me). However, there is one general fear that airlines may increase their fares.
BY:- Ralph Ese’Donnu Sawyerr,
Embassy of Sierra Leone,
In The Gambia and Senegal.