By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan has confirmed its first case of COVID – 19 pandemic, becoming the latest African nation to report a case of the deadly disease caused by the new coronavirus.
This was announced by the country’s first vice president, who is also the deputy chairperson of the COVID-19 Task Force, Dr. Riek Machar at a press conference in Juba on Sunday.
Dr. Machar said a 29-year-old female patient [UNMISS staff] arrived in the country from the Netherlands via Addis Ababa on February 28, and that she was being treated in isolation.
He explained that on Saturday, 4th April 2020, the Public Health Laboratory tested and confirmed a case of COVID-19 in an individual.
“The suspect presented to the UN clinic on 2nd April 2020 with fever, cough, headache, and shortness of breath. The Ministry of Health’s Rapid Response Team went to the clinic and collected samples the same day. The initial test came positive. A second run of the confirmatory test also returned positive,” said Machar
The deputy chairperson says the patient is currently in isolation and “in good health.”
Dr. Machar further said the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the outbreak including identifying and following up all the possible contacts.
It urged the public to remain calm and observe the public health measures such as social distancing and washing hands with soap.
“The government of the Republic of South Sudan seizes this opportunity to ensure the public to remain calm. The high-level taskforce has put in place relevant public health measures over the past two weeks. Social distancing in the only way we can minimize the risk of contracting and transmitting the disease,” said Dr. Machar.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has confirmed a case of coronavirus disease among its staff.
The patient has been resident in South Sudan for five weeks. However, she started working from home immediately after the onset of the symptoms. The patient is recovering well, UN says in the statement.
A month ago, the UN has imposed a travel freeze on all the staff travelling into country, ensured staff, who arrived prior to the ban self-quarantined for 14 days, introduced work-from-home measures to reduce numbers of people in offices and enforced social distancing rules and frequent hand washing by all personnel.
“The UN’s priority is to protect the people of South Sudan and UN staff who are here to serve. For that reason, the UN will make every effort to continue its activities to protect civilians provide humanitarian assistance, build peace and support development. The UN will also continue to support national-led COVID-19 prevention and preparedness efforts,” said UN in the statement, followed an announcement of first case of coronavirus.
Of recent, Juba government banned all the gatherings, international flight, sport activities and church mass and also imposed the night curfew in the country in effort to avoid the spread to the country.
The world youngest country has weak health capacity, a restive country has only four (4) ventilators for the individuals having problem with their respiratory system.
The confirmed of COVID – 19 pandemic, has already caused panic and worry amongst citizens of the nine (9) years old nation, which has been blighted by persisted conflict and corruptions for years.