COVID-19 lockdown without self-discipline is a waste of time in S. Sudan

Residents practicing social distancing at a public health awareness demonstration this month in Juba, South Sudan|Photo Credit: Alex Mcbride/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Opinion | By Emmanuel Malual

June 5, 2020 (Thessherald)–The recent attempt by the Ministry of Health to impose lockdown measures without citizens’ adherence to preventive measures as recommended by the World Health Organization is just an absolute waste of time.

Such a step should have been taken immediately before the situation got out of control, especially when the number of confirmed cases was at 45. Now that the number of confirmed cases of COVID -19 has already exceeded 1000, with more than 10 death cases compared to Uganda, which was far ahead of South Sudan during the outbreak of the pandemic.

In the context of Uganda, all citizens united their efforts as a nation in the battle against the spread of COVID-19, including their opposition leaders who came out and supported President Museveni. After the formation of the High-Level Committee on COVID-19 in Uganda, no single case of corruption has been reported, because their leaders were working for a common goal – unlike a country like South Sudan where leaders do the opposite with impunity.

The ongoing daily spike in the number of cases in South Sudan is a cause for deep concern – it also indicates that the people of South Sudan are on the brink of becoming vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, if no measures taken.

There is also a possibility that the disease will send our country into a state of economic turmoil and a crisis that we have not seen since we gained independence from Sudan a few years ago.

I recall President Salva Kiir’s speech when he termed the COVID-19 pandemic as a “disease that has no discrimination.” As a matter of fact, such a deadly disease can kill millions and millions of people, if we do not notice some of the preventive measures put in place by the relevant authorities.

He [Kiir] remarked, during his speech that, we have been losing our potential leaders unknowingly in the country since the onset of the virus in the country. COVID-19 is a very infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus that has stunned the world. With the increasing number of cases and deaths globally, there is an urgent need for solutions to tackle this pandemic

South Sudan’s Minister of Health, Hon. Minister Achuei stressed the need for the public to strictly follow the preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organization. These preventive measures, if observed, are the only solution by which we can strike a full blow against the COVID-19 pandemic in South Sudan.

The first rule we must keep at any given time is ‘social distancing’. Social distancing is away of increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Moreover, interstate travels should be avoided at all costs. Local communities usually suffer due to unnecessary movements of people from cities to their villages, exposing them and making them susceptible to diseases and viruses.

Mass gathering is an obvious risk factor that spreads Coronavirus. As the country still faces a shortage of medical facilities due to the conflict, and our healthcare systems are not strong enough to fight COVID-19, so we have to be careful. We need to take social distancing very seriously and avoid any necessary risks that may put the country in trouble.

The writer is a South Sudanese journalist, he lives in Kenya and can be reached via his email at

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