Banjul, The Gambia – In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, The United States is taking decisive action to inform and safeguard U.S. citizens overseas, protect the homeland, advance the Administration’s commitment to building global health security capacity for this and future outbreaks, and reduce the impact on U.S. companies and supply chains overseas.
On March 2, our USAID announced $37 million in financing allocated for countries affected or at high risk of the Wuhan virus’s spread. That comes on top of the $100 million in humanitarian assistance and delivery of more than 17 tons of assistance that the United States has sent to the Chinese people back in January. The U.S. assistance reflects continued U.S. commitment to preventing and treating infectious diseases. As outlined in its Global Health Security Strategy, the U.S. partners with other countries to better prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats at the source. Since 2009, USAID has invested more than $1 billion to help prevent, detect and respond to endemic and emerging health threats, including diseases like COVID-19. “This commitment — along with the hundreds of millions generously donated by the American private sector — demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak,” said U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo.
The United States has also taken measures to ensure the safety and security of American Citizens around the world.
On March 11, the U.S. Department of State issued a Worldwide Level 3 Health Advisory due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-3-health-advisory-issue.html to read the full text of the Advisory.
On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of US personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.
On March 15, the Peace Corps announced it would suspend Volunteer operations and begin evacuating Volunteers from all posts due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These evacuations represent the temporary suspension of Volunteer activities. The Peace Corps is not closing posts, and they will be ready to return to normal operations when conditions permit.
Here in The Gambia:
As of March 17, 2020 the United States Embassy in The Gambia is cancelling routine nonimmigrant visa appointments. The Embassy will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. If an applicant has already paid the MRV fee they should note that it is valid and may be used for a visa application in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment.
On March 17, 2020, the American Corners in Bundung and on Kairaba Avenue temporarily closed to the public for an assessment of protocols to effectively mitigate the risk to the many Gambians who use the facilities on a regular basis. Updates on the status of the corners will be posted on the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AmericanCornerGambia.
During this crisis, the Unites States will continue to lead in global health security. The United States has been working for decades to improve global capacity to contain outbreaks at their source and minimize their impact. These investments and partnership shave laid foundations to rapidly and effectively prepare for emerging threats, including the current outbreak.
We encourage all Gambians to look to reliable sources of information during this global health crisis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a great source of up-to-date and accurate information from top health care professionals fighting the COVID-19 outbreak. Please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 information page at https://www.coronavirus.gov.