South Sudan:Lockdown Re-imposed Amid Surge in Covid 19 Cases

By Deng Machol

Juba – South Sudan’s National Taskforce on Coronavirus pandemic has re-introduced tough lockdown measures in the wake of a recent surge in COVID – 19 cases in the restive country.

According to the new order, all businesses in the country will shut down, except for those dealing with essential services like food, medicine and fuel.

The taskforce, however stated that “wearing of face mask is now mandatory and people must observe social distancing while avoiding handshake due to the recent surge of the covid-19 pandemic in the country and around the globe and as a precautionary measure for all public and private sectors.

In April 2020, South Sudan stepped up measures to contain the spread of COVID 19, temporarily shutting schools and universities, barring fans from sports events, and telling citizens to observe social distancing after confirmed its first case on the 5th of April 2020.

But the months late, the taskforce decided to loosen restrictions across the country.

Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 94 new cases, bringing the cumulative number of deaths to 66 and total tally to 4,609 confirmed cases in South Sudan, while 3,692 were reported recovery

In a move to contain the resurgence of the virus, in the statement, the chairman of the National Taskforce and the Vice president in charge of service cluster, Hussein Abdelbagi, said the body has resolved to “Ban on all gatherings such as sporting events -including Sunday church prayers, Mosque prayers, funerals, wedding ceremonies and political events.”

The National Task Force said it has noted negligence in observing the COVID 19 preventive measures in the East African’s youngest nation.

The Taskforce also closed all businesses that attract crowds, which includes Shisha stalls, bars, night clubs, birthday parties, betting, cards and dominos.

“Both private and public sectors to make provision to allow the non-essential staff to stay home on a paid leave or alternate their staff in shifts, closure of all businesses which will attract crowds such as shisha stalls, bars, nightclubs, day parties, betting, cards, and dominos. Meanwhile, restaurants and tea places must strictly adhere to covid-19 measures, otherwise, failure to do so they can be closed,” the order said. 

Boda-bodas have been ordered to carry cargo or strictly one passenger wearing a face mask and public buses are permitted to take passengers to half capacity.

South Sudan gained her independence from Sudan in 2011, still have a fragile health system to contain epidemic and pandemic diseases. 

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