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Passengers from an international flight are screened for their temperature at Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan on January 31, 2020. - South Sudan's international airport has implemented more rigorous health screenings after the World Health Organisation declared the Nova Coronavirus a global health emergency on January 30, 2020. (Photo by Alex McBride / AFP) (Photo by ALEX MCBRIDE/AFP via Getty Images)

South Sudan Reports 36 New COVID-19 Cases, 156 in Total amid Easing Restrictions

May 12, 2020

By Deng Machol

Passengers from an international flight are screened for their temperature at Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan on January 31, 2020. - South Sudan's international airport has implemented more rigorous health screenings after the World Health Organisation declared the Nova Coronavirus a global health emergency on January 30, 2020. (Photo by Alex McBride / AFP) (Photo by ALEX MCBRIDE/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers from an international flight are screened for their temperature at Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan on January 31, 2020. – South Sudan’s international airport has implemented more rigorous health screenings after the World Health Organisation declared the Nova Coronavirus a global health emergency on January 30, 2020. (Photo by Alex McBride / AFP) (Photo by ALEX MCBRIDE/AFP via Getty Images)

Juba – South Sudan Ministry of Health confirmed 36 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections to 156, including two recoveries in the restive country.

This is the highest number the country has recorded in 2 consecutive days. 282 suspected cases were tested over the last 48 hours.

According to the Director-General at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Richard Lako says 28 of the confirmed cases are South Sudanese who had been granted permission to travel to the states.

He further revealed that the rest had made contacts with previous cases.

“The Public Health Laboratory on Sunday 10 May, 2020 released 282 test results run in the last 48 hours… out of these, 2 were confirmed on the 8th May, and the 34 of them are on the 9 of May,” Dr. Lako announced to the press in Juba.

They include 2 Ugandan, a Kenyan, a Congolese intercepted at Nimule border and 4 other foreign nationals.

“We have 13 samples that are to be recollected and retested, and we have 233 tests were negative,” Dr. Lako added.

A total of 66 cases have been confirmed, or the spike in COVID-19 cases comes a day the world’s youngest nation’s presidency, in its fourth meeting eased rules and directives which were issued as part of measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country in the past week.

The government announced the resumption of businesses including bars, restaurants, Boda Boda, Rickshaws, and lifting constraints on travel and trade, despite a surge in coronavirus cases.

A statement by the taskforce on COVID-19 directs the Ministry of Health to disinfect markets, public and private transport means.

The Presidency has also reduced curfew time from the previous 7pm-6 am to start from 10pm to 6am.

Doctors’ protest

However, the country’s Doctors’ Union protested against the Presidency’s decision to ease some lockdown restrictions, saying the situation remains critical.

The doctors say easing restrictions would encourage transmission to areas where health professionals are not trained and where facilities are not available to quarantine positive cases.

“You can recall that the country has confirmed 90 COVID-19 cases in the last one month and most of them were from the local transmission. And therefore we recommend that the lockdown remains in place and further reinforced until transmission or number of new cases begin dropping,” said Dr. Anthony Garang-the acting Chairperson of the South Sudan Doctors’ Union.

The doctors called on the Presidency to review its decision because it “does not see any urgency in relaxing the rules and directives of the lockdown” when the country is experiencing an exponential rise in new cases.”

On March 22, the government announced a partial lockdown of the country, before registering any case of COVID-19.

It closed shops, non-food markets, bars, and all learning institutions as preventive measures against the pandemic. Interstate travels were also banned and regional flights suspended.

The health official said all the latest cases are part of the local transmission in the country.

The official said a full-contact tracing operation is underway and called on all the contacts to cooperate with the country’s rapid response teams.

The landlocked country, which just emerged out political violence has fragile health system, had only four (4) ventilators for the individuals having problem with their respiratory system.

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