South Sudan warned of surge of COVID-19 amid relaxation of measures

In this photo taken Sunday, June 21, 2020, an infectious disease specialist, left, takes a sample from Dr. Reagan Taban Augustino, right, now a coronavirus patient himself under quarantine, at the Dr John Garang Infectious Diseases Unit in Juba, South Sudan. The United Nations says the country's outbreak is growing rapidly, with nearly 1,900 cases, including more than 50 health workers infected, and at the only laboratory in the country that tests for the virus a team of 16 works up to 16-hour days slogging through a backlog of more than 5,000 tests. (AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)
In this photo taken Sunday, June 21, 2020, an infectious disease specialist takes a sample. (AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)

South Sudan doctors have warned of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic unless preventive measures are stepped up to avoid resurgence.

The South Sudan Doctors Union (SSDU) warned that the east African country is most likely to experience a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak with more morbidity and mortality without heightened efforts to fight the virus.

“We observed that the majority of citizens and officials appear to have given up on wearing face masks and regular hand sanitization,” the doctors said in a statement issued Friday evening, adding that “most public institutions, shopping and medical centers are no longer providing handwashing facilities or sanitizers at entrances or within the buildings.”

The doctors also expressed concern about public noncompliance with COVID-19 prevention measures amid laxity in enforcing coronavirus prevention measures across the country.

“Social distancing is not being observed at most meetings, weddings, funerals and other social/public gatherings,” the statement said.

“Such level of noncompliance during the ongoing global outbreak places vulnerable populations at risk and poses a real threat to the national health and safety of our country,” the doctors said.

South Sudan’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases stand at 2,833, with 2,655 recoveries and 55 deaths as of Friday.

The government has relaxed COVID-19 lockdown measures and allowed schools and religious institutions to re-open after six months of shutdown.

The health experts called on the government to reinforce COVID-19 prevention measures in the wake of the global resurgence of new infections.

“In the wake of the global resurgence of new COVID-19 infections, the SSDU appeals to the national taskforce, and relevant authorities and institutions to fully reinforce public compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures and guidelines across the country, as recommended by the Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) and technical partners,” the medics appealed.

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