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COVID-19 PREPAREDNESS AND MEASURES FOR HOTELS, GUESTHOUSES, RESTAURANTS, AND GROUND TOUR OPERATORS AMONGST OTHERS

11 Mar 2020

BACKGROUND

The World Health Organisation has declared the Covid-19 as a Public health emergency of international concern and while the number of Cases in China is on the decline, the numbers of Global cases continue to rise (WHO, 2020). Neighbouring countries such as Senegal and Nigeria have both reported cases and thus the need to be more vigilant. The Gambia has not yet registered any case of the disease and there is no cause for alarm and the measures herein proposed are a measured response in preparing for any eventualities.

In a joint statement by the UNWTO and WHO, the Tourism sector’s response needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment, involving every part of the tourism value chain – public bodies, private companies and tourists, in line with WHO’s overall guidance and recommendations.

The travel and hospitality industry plays a very crucial role in Global disease outbreaks and as such The Gambia Tourism Board and The Ministry of Health have developed interim Measures for all Hotels to implement as part of the country’s preparedness. The Objectives of which are:

OBJECTIVES

  • To ensure a safe working environment for all staff and visitors in all the hotels.
  • To raise the awareness of all staff on the novel coronavirus and dispel rumours and misinformation.
  • To set standards of acceptable codes of conduct and practices to disease prevention in the Tourism sector
  • To boost staff morale and confidence

MEASURES

  • Provision of hand sanitizers, tissue dispenser and covered dustbins in all entrances and ensure all persons accessing the hotel disinfect their hands before entering and leaving. Security guards must be aware of this and enforce it fully.
  • Display posters on proper hand hygiene in all public spaces
  • All staff shall be provided with appropriate disinfectant (disposable alcohol swabs) to enable them regularly disinfect tables, keyboards, chairs etc.
  • All staff and guests with flu-like symptoms must go under self-isolation the Ministry of Health must be contacted for advice and Guidance, Call Toll Free 1025.
  • In the event of isolation (self or imposed) cleaning must be done under the supervision of health and safety officers only.
  • The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the GT Board and Gambia Hotel Association will conduct sensitizations in all hotels in the coming days.

CONCLUSION

It is hoped that these measures will go a long way in helping to control the disease should there be any case in the country. It is, however, worthy to note that early detection and reporting of all possible cases especially those from affected countries is of prime importance.

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