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By Tabora Bojang

A massive Covid-19 rapid testing has begun in Bakau yesterday as the number of new cases in the country increased rapidly.

Dozens of frontline health workers accompanied by security personnel were in the town to voluntarily screen and test residents who may have come into contact with the new confirmed cases for symptoms of Covid-19.
The development comes as the number of infected cases continues to grow with five new cases.

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Health officials told The Standard that the samples collected from over thousand community volunteers are expected to be sent to the MRC for verification and those with confirmed or highly suspicious cases will be contacted.

According to Haruna Jallow from the National Public Health Laboratories, there is a clear manifestation of local transmission as a result of which mass voluntary testing to track down affected people as quickly as possible has become imperative.
Warning against complacency, Jallow said similar exercises were planned in Busumbala and Serekunda but the communities refused sample collections.
Lab technician Kalifa Sanneh hailed Bakau for cooperating well with the officials in conducting the exercise.

Former minister of youths and sports, Sherriff Gomez, a native of Bakau who was seen helping to organise the voluntary exercise at the school grounds said volunteerism was crucial in the fight against Covid-19.

“This is a community fight because the only efficacy in your testing is as equal as if everybody else has tested. Any person who fails to do the test is putting the community at risk. The norm should be mass testing as Bakau is a flash point. There must be mandatory testing to know the status of the community to be able to deal with the virus,” Gomez urged.

Modou Ceesay, another volunteer decried that most Gambians are being very complacent to understand the deadliness of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I don’t know what is wrong with us as Gambians. People still believe Covid-19 is a ploy of politics by government to get money from the international community. Covid-19 is real and it is killing people all over the world; let us come out and get tested,” he advised.

The executive director of the National Youth Council, Lamin Darboe, said there is still lack of awareness and compliance among the youth folk about Covid-19.
“We have to confront denial because we cannot continue to risk people’s lives and continue to expose people just because we are in denial of what is evident. This virus could send you to bed or even kill you, so as young people we must tighten our belts and take responsibility to protect ourselves first and protect our families and communities.”

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