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JUBA - 3 Feb 2021

South Sudan imposes stringent Covid-19 measures

The South Sudan National Taskforce on Covid-19 has on Wednesday evening announced the imposition of strict Covid-19 preventive measures in the wake of a recent surge of cases reported across the country.

According to the national ministry of health updates released today, 37 new cases have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 4,267 since the pandemic started. There were no new deaths today but 66 people have so far died of the pandemic.

In a statement read on state-run television SSBC this evening, the taskforce’s chairman Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi Akol banned all sporting, religious and political events including, Sunday services, Friday prayers for Moslems, funerals, and wedding ceremonies.

Abdelbagi also ordered the closure of all pre-schools, schools, universities, and all other institutions of learning except for candidate classes with strict adherence to wearing of facemasks at all times, maintaining social distancing, and frequently cleaning of hands and/or sanitizing.

“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 stated.

It adds, “Limiting bus and taxi passenger load to half capacity, restricting Raksha to two passengers and Bodaboda to cargo transport or strictly one person as long as there is a mask. Council of ministers shall conduct only extra-ordinary meetings with strict protective measures. Airports and flights countrywide shall observe strict adherence to covid-19 measure.” 

The taskforce directed all uniformed forces to also follow the strict measures and impose the order as of 3rd February for a period of one month unless it is reviewed.

In April 2020, the government stepped up measures to arrest the spread of coronavirus temporarily shutting schools and universities, barring fans from sports events, and telling citizens to observe social distancing. But the following month, the taskforce decided to loosen restrictions across the country.

South Sudan confirmed its first case on the 5th of April 2020, but cases slowly picked amid concerns of a struggling health system.