South Sudan fifth vice president Abdelbagi tests positive for COVID-19

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A member of South Sudanese Ministry of Health's Rapid Response Team take a sample from a man who has recently been in contact with a confirmed case of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Juba, South Sudan on April 13, 2020. - Four cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been confirmed among United Nations (UN) national and international staff in South Sudan. (Photo by Alex McBride / AFP) (Photo by ALEX MCBRIDE/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A member of South Sudanese Ministry of Health’s Rapid Response Team take a sample from a man who was recently been in contact with a confirmed case of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Juba, South Sudan. (Photo by ALEX MCBRIDE/AFP via Getty Images)

South Sudan’s Fifth Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi tested positive for COVID-19 the country’s Ministry of Health said.

Abdelbagi, who is also the chairman of the reconstituted National Committee on Covid-19, confirmed the result while speaking on the state-run TV SSBC on Wednesday.

He urged the public to follow the regulations in place to contain the rapid spread of the deadly virus.

“The task-force is working tirelessly to curb the level of spread and transmission. However, the general public must comply with such regulations in order to enable us fight coronavirus effectively,” he said.

Abdelbagi is the latest high-profile figure in South Sudan to test positive for COVID-19 along with others such as First Vice President Riek Machar and his wife Angelina Teny and Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth.

Last week, 10 of South Sudan’s cabinet ministers tested positive for COVID-19 after coming into contact with a former member of the high-level task force on coronavirus.

President Salva Kiir was prompted to dismiss speculation that he had been flown out of the country after contracting coronavirus.

Also on Wednesday, South Sudan reported 188 new COVID-19 cases taking the national total to 994 confirmed cases with 10 fatalities and six recoveries.

Earlier this month, Kiir lifted restrictions put in place to control the spread of the virus despite the number of COVID-19 cases rising. The curfew period was reduced, regional flights were allowed to resume while markets, shops and bars were allowed to reopen.

The South Sudan Doctors Union criticised the move saying it did not see the urgency in relaxing the rules and directives of the lockdown at a time when the country was is experiencing an exponential rise in cases.

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