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South Sudan VP Tests Positive for COVID-19

South Sudan VP Tests Positive for COVID-19

Saturday, 30 May, 2020 - 07:30
South Sudan’s Vice President, and chairman of the National Committee on Covid-19, Hussein Abdelbagi (Asharq Al-Awsat)
London - Mustafa Siri

South Sudan’s Vice President and chairman of the National Committee on COVID-19 Hussein Abdelbagi tested positive for the virus.


Abdelbagi confirmed the results during a statement on national TV, which makes him the fourth official to contract the virus within a week.


The VP went under self-isolation for 14 days, asserting that he will resume work from home during this period. He urged the public to follow the regulations to contain the rapid spread of the virus.


On Monday, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit asserted that he is in good health. This was Kiir's first public appearance since it was reported that he contracted the virus.


Meanwhile, the First Vice President Riek Machar, his wife Angelina Teny, and Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth are also in self isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.


The Undersecretary of the Health Ministry, Makur Makur Kariom, stated that five health workers contracted the virus. Later, he announced that a doctor died from complications.


Kariom noted that health workers face many challenges including patients’ management and salary issues.


As of Friday, South Sudan has recorded 994 confirmed cases, and ten deaths since the start of the outbreak.


Recently, Juba-based think tank, the Sudd Institute issued a report warning that coronavirus infections could exceed 3000 cases in the first days of June, despite the measures taken by the government to reduce the spread of the pandemic.


“If the present infection trajectory holds into the future, the total number of confirmed cases in South Sudan would be 3,054 by June 6, 2020.”


The report said that preventive measures taken by Kiir last March were “grossly ineffective”, which led to an increase in the number of cases in the country.


Sudd’s director of research, Augustino Mayai, said that based on this estimate, the number of confirmed infections per day would be expected to peak at 96 cases.


He indicated that there are options for the country to adopt, recommending widening testing capabilities as a possible means to reverse this trend.


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