By Deng Machol*
Juba – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) promised to take disciplinary action against its staff members after its staff member escapes quarantine or failed to complete self-isolation and sneaked out of South Sudan without authorization.
South Sudan still has four (4) confirmed cases of the COVID – 19 pandemic, had put several measures in place, one of which called for quarantining and testing of all contacts of those who have tested positive of recently.
This comes after South Sudan’s High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 report that one of the 99 contacts of the first coronavirus case had left the country with the aid of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
“The High-Level Task Force has learned with dismay that one of the enlisted ninety-nine (99) contacts [supposedly in isolation] has secretly travelled out of South Sudan abroad a United Nations flight, and has since arrived their home country. This is a clear contravention of the international health regulations (IHR 2005),” said High-Level Taskforce on Saturday.
The Taskforce further condemns the act, holds the UN system in South Sudan accountable for any unseemly events that may ensue.
In a response, the UN says the staff member who was in isolation after coming into contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, received one test that confirmed him as negative and then left Juba on a flight without the knowledge of the United Nations.
“The flight was commercial, not a United Nations flight. Since arriving in his home country, he has been tested again and is confirmed to be negative for COVID-19,” the UN says in the public statement on Sunday. “In the interests of openness and transparency, the United Nations informed the Ministry of Health and expressed its regret about what had happened.”
The UN Mission pointed out that it is continuing to strictly follow the health protocols relating to COVID-19 and is working cooperatively through the World Health Organization with the Ministry of Health.
It further warned that any UN staffs who fail to adhere to the requirements for testing and self-isolation will face disciplinary action.
“It is vital that all of us-whether UN or members of South Sudanese communities-work together to reduce the risk of COVID-19,” statement read in part.