UN pledges to work with South Sudan to prevent spread of COVID-19

Monday, April 6th, 2020 13:44 |
South Sudanese medical workers demonstrate preventive measures against Coronavirus (Covid-19), at the National Public Health Center in Juba, capital of South Sudan. (Xinhua/Denis Elamu)

The UN has vowed to work closely with South Sudan and the World Health Organization (WHO) on the prevention and preparedness on coronavirus following the confirmation of the first case on Sunday.

The UN in South Sudan which also confirmed a case of COVID-19 among its staff said the world body will make every effort to continue its activities to protect civilians, provide humanitarian assistance, build peace and support development.

"The UN's priority is to protect the people of South Sudan and UN staff who are here to serve. The UN will also continue to support national-led COVID-19 prevention and preparedness efforts," the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement issued in Juba.

It said the health ministry and WHO are leading the investigation by epidemiologists to test people recently in contact with the 29-year-old female patient who arrived in Juba from Netherlands via Ethiopia on Feb. 28.

OCHA said the patient has been resident in South Sudan for five weeks. She started working from home immediately after the onset of the symptoms and voluntarily requested to be tested to check her status with regard to COVID-19.

"The patient is recovering well," it said, noting that a full list of people who came into contact with the patient is being compiled, and quarantine and follow-up has begun immediately together with the Ministry of Health.

"The individuals will be followed up for the mandatory 14 days, checked for symptoms and those who develop symptoms will be tested for COVID-19," said the UN.

OCHA said the UN is supporting efforts to raise awareness about prevention measures, including frequent handwashing, social distancing, self-quarantine requirements and the avoidance of large gatherings to reduce the risk of transmission.

The UN has previously imposed a travel freeze on all staff traveling into the country, ensured staff who arrived prior to the ban are self-quarantined for 14 days, introduced work-from-home measures to reduce numbers of people in offices, and enforced social distancing rules and frequent hand washing by all personnel.

South Sudan has since urged the public to remain calm and observe the public health measures such as social distancing and washing hands with soap. (Xinhua)

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