South Sudan Covid-19 response: Skeptical, defiant and clumsy

A man carries the South Sudan flag in Juba on November 17, 2018.

Photo credit: Photo | Akuot Chol / AFP

What you need to know:

  • South Sudan’s rapid increase in case numbers should prompt it to finally waking up from a sense of complacency that had seized it.
  • The death of prominent personalities with the disease has shaken the whole country into a new awareness about the dangers this disease represents.
  • The hope is that this sudden spike in infection rates may have finally jolted the country into a new wakefulness about the nature of this disease, which might prompt individuals to take responsibility for their own wellbeing.

In the course of the past week, people in South Sudan, especially the residents of Juba, the capital, have been alarmed by new developments in the country regarding the spread of Covid-19 and the government’s response to it. South Sudan was the last country in the East African Community to report a case of the novel coronavirus, on April 5. But since then, the country has experienced such a rapid increase in case numbers that it is finally waking up from a sense of complacency that had seized it up to now. The government has dissolved and reconstituted its High-level Task Force on Coronavirus and confirmed the largest increase of case number in a single week since the pandemic landed in the country. It announced that its First Vice President, Riek Machar, who headed the first Task Force, the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Information and most of the 15 members of the former Task Force have tested positive for the virus and are currently in isolation.


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