South Sudan reimposes partial lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge

Flag of South Sudan with flare and dark blue sky

The South Sudan National Taskforce on COVID-19 has reintroduced a one-month partial lockdown amid a surge of cases across the country.

In a statement on Wednesday, Fifth Vice President Abdelbagi Akol, who also heads the task force, asked citizens to respect the one-month restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19

“The task force has banned all gatherings such as sporting events, religious events, Al Juma prayers, funerals, political events, weddings, operationalization of all primary and secondary schools, universities and all learning institutions, except [in the case of] examinations with full adherence to preventive measures,” the official said.

“Both private and public sectors are asked to make provisions to allow non-essential staff to stay at home on a paid leave or for alternative staff shifts. [There shall also be] closure of businesses which attract crowds and restaurants must adhere to preventive measures.”

The body also banned the transportation of passengers at full capacity by public service vehicles but allowed boda boda operators to carry people or cargo.

All incoming passengers must have COVID-19 test certificates. Airports within the country must adhere to preventive measures”.

The taskforce instructed all law enforcement agencies to administer the rules timely and effectively.

Taskforce member Doctor Richard Laku said virus cases have doubled in the past week.

“In the last seven days, we have recorded 218 confirmed cases, compared to the week before which is the week of 20-26th,” said Laku. “We have 140 cases, but the week 2nd of February we have 218 cases which shows almost doubling of the cases along the two weeks, and this shows that the possibility rate has been increasing from last week to this week.”

Africa’s youngest nation registered its first Coronavirus case on April 5, 2020.

South Sudan imposed its first lockdown in March 2020 but lifted it in June after the level of reported COVID-19 cases dropped.

(With input from agencies)