Full Text: ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ Kiir addresses the nation on COVID-19

The President Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dates: 16 March 2020 J1 Presidential Palace.

(Thessherald)–Fellow Countrymen, Your Country, South Sudan is COVID-19 – free The World Health Organisation (WHO) risk assessment indicates a very ‘high risk’ worldwide including our country. The declaration of the disease as pandemic, means countries have to take serious and effective action to fight this new coronavirus.

We are taking immediate actions and scale up response to detect, treat and reduce transmission in order to save lives.

1- I have ordered self quarantine of all senior government officials who have just arrived from countries with established local infection and transmission of COVID-19

2- We have directed security and law enforcement agencies to support the Ministry of Health in enforcing isolation, self- quarantine, removing COVID-19 suspects and relocating them to isolation centres. 3- All international conferences slated to take place in South Sudan have temporarily been postponed due to the looming threat of COVID-19.

4- All planned social gatherings like sporting events, religious events, socio-cultural such as weddings, and political events must be postponed.

5- Caution must be exercised to reduce and avoid crowding at place of work. Workers sharing an office space must ensure they are seated at least one metre apart.

6- Travelers arriving South Sudan from affected countries and areas with established local transmission will be self- quarantined for 14 days.

7- Non-essential travels to affected countries must be called off or postponed to a later date. We have ordered restrictions on movement of people, including decline to issue new visas, revoking visas and residence permits, and denial of admission at ports of entry.

Prevention is better than cure. I advise all South Sudanese and residents to observe the following 10 basic measures to prevent the spread of the virus in order to save lives:

  1. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  1. Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant for example kitchen benches and work desks;
  2. COVID-19 is spread by droplets. Maintain at least 1-metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Droplets spread virus. By covering your nose and mouth, you protect the people around you from viruses such as COVID-19.
  5. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  6. Avoid traveling if you have fever or cough, and if you become sick while on a flight, inform the crew immediately. Once you get home, contact a health professional and tell them about where you have been; 8. Take extra precautions to avoid crowds.
  7. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. National and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
  8. It is normal and understandable to feel anxious, especially if your community has been affected. Find out what you can do in your community. Discuss how to stay safe with your employer, school or place of worship. For persons who have recently visited Countries where COVID-19 is spreading:

Follow the guidance outlined above. (refer to the Ministry of Health’s Advisory) Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses. If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or

  1. other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility.

This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. I take this opportunity to profoundly thank the World Health Organisation, the CDC and other partners in South Sudan for their tremendous work. I salute the courage of the WHO and all our partners who are working tirelessly during this trying moment. The contributions from partners have challenged us and open up a new space for our commitment, designed to meet the increasing demand and expectations of our people. May God protect our nation.

Thank you.

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