South Sudan lifts COVID-19 restrictions amid fall in infections

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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)

South Sudan’s government lifted COVID-19 restrictions as the number of infections continues to decline.

Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, Vice President for service cluster and chair of the country’s national task force, said the decision to lift the COVID-19 partial lockdown came as a result of the low infection rate in the country.

FILE PHOTO: An infectious disease specialist takes a sample from a coronavirus patient himself under quarantine, at the Dr John Garang Infectious Diseases Unit in Juba, South Sudan. (AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)

“After a thorough consultation with stakeholders, it gives me great pleasure to announce the lifting of the COVID-19 pandemic partial lockdown in the country,” Akol said in a statement issued on Wednesday evening in Juba.

The decision to lift the COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday came as South Sudan recorded 16 new COVID-19 cases bringing the cumulative number of infections to 10,416, 10,148 recoveries and 114 deaths.

Akol said the effectiveness of the earlier month-long partial lockdown had expired on April 4, noting that the infection rate in the country has significantly reduced as the laboratory result announced 16 positive cases for the last 24 hours.

He urged the public to strictly follow the country’s COVID-19 preventive measures and guidelines to curb the spread of the virus.

Last week, the east African nation launched the AstraZeneca vaccine and has so far vaccinated 947 out of 4,000 targeted frontline health workers.

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