‘No more movements between camps,’ UNHCRH in Kenya steps up tough measures

Emblem of UNHCR/Photo: UN

(Thessherald)–In the face of the ongoing concerns about the spread of Coronavirus, UNHCR in Kenya has implemented strict measures, restricting unnecessary movements of refugees, asylum-seekers and other persons of concern.

Information for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers regarding Corona virus

“The Government of Kenya has announced various measures to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus. UNHCR has therefore implemented precautionary measures to prevent any further spread of the virus and in order to protect refugees, asylum-seekers and other persons of concern from becoming infected with the virus.”

These are in line with the directives of the Government of Kenya and include:

• Services at UNHCR: No reception, interviews or counselling will take place at UNHCR offices.

• Voluntary repatriation: All movements of persons of concern wishing to return to their countries have been suspended.

• Resettlement: All movements of refugees departing to resettlement countries have been suspended.

• Movements between Kakuma,
Dadaab and Nairobi: Refugee Affairs Secretariat has suspended the issuance of movement passes. Hence, no movements take place between Kakuma, Dadaab and Nairobi until further notice.

China donates $100,000 to help WHO procure protective kits for South Sudan

(Thessherald)–China on Saturday announced to donate $100,000 to the World Health Organization (WHO) for the purchase of protective kits and medical equipment as part of COVID-19 response in South Sudan.

Hua Ning, Chinese ambassador to South Sudan, said in a statement issued in Juba that the prevention and control of imported infections have become a prominent challenge for South Sudan.

“We are hereby pleased to announce that the Chinese Embassy in South Sudan will donate 100,000 dollars to the WHO Country Office in Juba. The donation would be used to procure protective kits including medical equipment which are urgently needed for the country,” Hua said.

Hua said COVID-19 is a global pandemic and currently confirmed cases have been reported in more than 40 African countries.

The envoy said the embassy will work closely with South Sudan, WHO and international partners to contain the virus in a spirit of solidarity.

To support South Sudan’s preparedness on COVID-19 at this critical moment, some other medical supplies donated by the Chinese government and Chinese companies will be delivered to South Sudan soon, Hua said.
There is no confirmed case in South Sudan so far.

S. Sudan to benefit from $100 million emergency funds to avert COVID-19: US

Troika countries issue a press release, calling for full implementation of R-ARCSS | Photo: USA Embassy in S. Sudan

(Thessherald)–To effectively contain the global pandemic virus, the United States government has announced that South Sudan is going be one of the recipient countries that will receive $ 100 million from the US Agency for International Development’s Emergency Reserve Fund.

“Hello, This is Tom Hushek speaking to you from the U.S. Embassy in Juba.
In this difficult time where our entire global community is affected by COVID-19, we recognize the importance of collective and coordinated action to combat this pandemic,” said the US diplomat, Tom Hushek.

The official stressed that based on the health guidelines recommended by the United States and South Sudan, there is an urgent need to keep those preventive measures.

“Self-quarantine, as recommended by both the U.S. and South Sudan governments for those who have traveled through higher-risk areas, is one of many actions people can take to help limit the potential spread of COVID-19.”

Adding that, “Those of our staff that have recently returned to South Sudan – including our USAID Mission Director – are following those recommendations.

“Other important steps include staying home if you are sick, practicing social distancing, limiting physical contact, and of course frequent hand washing.”

The US said it will continue to partner with the unity government to implement those measures.

“In partnership with the government and citizens of South Sudan, we are taking action to ensure the health and safety of our mission staff and our partners. We recognize that this is a disease that does not recognize borders and we must all work together to strengthen prevention.”

“The U.S. government is taking extraordinary steps to help prevent the spread of the disease around the world. Since February 7, the U.S. government announced $100 million from USAID’s Emergency Reserve Fund to address the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Washington said the funding be used for supporting to support countries most affected by the disease.

“These funds will be used for critical interventions in developing countries affected or at high-risk for the COVID 19 outbreak, including South Sudan.

“The United States is the global leader in public health assistance with $9.5 billion appropriated in 2019 to support international public health and more than $100 billion committed over the last 20 years to support public health on the African continent. Together, we will get through this global challenge!.”

Breaking: Top US official tests positive for COVID-19

(Thessherald)–The United States Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced on Twitter on Sunday, adding that he is in quarantine and feels “fine”.

The statement specified that Paul showed no syptoms of falling ill, adding that he was was tested out “of caution due to his extensive travel and events”.

The senator intends to continue his work “for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time” once the quarantine period is over, according to the statement.

The news broke as the US Senate is debating a multi-trillion-dollar aid package to help the US economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rand Paul has become the first US senator to be infected with the virus. It was earlier reported that two House representatives, Mario Diaz Balart of Florida and Ben McAdams of Utah, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
So far, Johns Hopkins University has confirmed 25,490 COVID-19 cases in the US, reporting 300 deaths and 171 recoveries.

Globally, some 318,200 people have been infected with the virus with more than 13,000 dying. Over 94,700 people, mostly from China have recovered.

Originally published by Sputnik News 

https://sputniknews.com/us/202003221078670866-us-senator-rand-paul-tests-positive-for-covid-19/

Unity government pledges $ 5.4 million to combat spread of COVID-19

(Thessherald)–As the virus continues to spread in countries bordering South Sudan, the Transitional Government of National Unity has pledged $ 5.4 million to support the fight against the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19).

On Friday, the President Kiir issued a presidential order, constituting a High-Level Task Force Committee to take additional precautionary measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Republican Order No. 08/2020 for the Formation of a High Level Task Force Committee to take Extra Precautionary Measures in Combating the Spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) into the Republic of South Sudan, 2020 A.D.”

Title and Commencement: “This Order shall be cited as “The Republican Order No.08/2020 for the Formation of a High Level Task Force Committee to take Extra Precautionary Measures in Combating the Spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) into the Republic of South Sudan, 2020 A.D.” and shall come into force on the date of its signature by the President of the Republic.”

The spread of COVID-19 has caused uncertainty and unpredictability, forcing other countries to prohibit unnecessary movements.

Although no cases of coronavirus have been reported so far in South Sudan, the country’s leaders began to close schools and ban all public, social, cultural and religious gatherings.

All overseas visitors traveling to South Sudan from any of the affected countries are checked on arrival and isolated at designated centers for 14 days at their own expense.

No confirmed case of COV-19 in Uganda – Ministry Health 

(Thessherald)–In response to today’s rumors about COVID-19, the Ugandan Ministry of Health has strongly dismissed the reports posted on social media and advised members of the public not to lend plausibility or trust any media outlets.

“The Ministry of Health’s attention has been drawn to social media posts making rounds of an article stating that “Uganda has confirmed a COVID-19 case” from the website http://ucrtv.com/uganda-confirms-first-case-of-coronavirus/,” said the Ministry of Health. 

The statement urged the public to ignore allegations aimed at raising fears among citizens.

“The Ministry of Health would like to inform the general public to disregard this baseless rumor spread by individuals with ill intentions intending to malice the health sector’s efforts to prevent the importation of COVID 19.”

“To date, a total of 2,278 travelers including Ugandans and others travelling back home have been identified as high-risk and identified for purposes of follow up and institutional quarantine. So far, samples from 54 persons who presented with signs and symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 have been tested. Out of these, 52 tested negative while 2 are pending results from Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI). As of today, Uganda has NO confirmed case of COVID-19. 

“We appeal to the general public to always verify information from the Ministry of Health and please STOP spreading false rumors.”

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 20 March

The World Health Organization 


(Thessherald)–Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, wherever you are.
Every day, COVID-19 seems to reach a new and tragic milestone.

More than 210,000 cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 9,000 people have lost their lives.
Every loss of life is a tragedy. It’s also motivation to double down and do everything we can to stop transmission and save lives.
We also need to celebrate our successes. Yesterday, Wuhan reported no new cases for the first time since the outbreak started.
Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world, that even the most severe situation can be turned around.

Of course, we must exercise caution – the situation can reverse. But the experience of cities and countries that have pushed back this virus give hope and courage to the rest of the world.

Every day, we are learning more about this virus and the disease it causes.
One of the things we are learning is that although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared.
Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.

Today, I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you.
Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.

I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus.
As I keep saying, solidarity is the key to defeating COVID-19 – solidarity between countries, but also between age groups.

Thank you for heeding our call for solidarity, solidarity, solidarity.

We’ve said from the beginning that our greatest concern is the impact this virus could have if it gains a foothold in countries with weaker health systems, or with vulnerable populations.
That concern has now become very real and urgent.

We know that if this disease takes hold in these countries, there could be significant sickness and loss of life.

But that is not inevitable. Unlike any pandemic in history, we have the power to change the way this goes.

WHO is working actively to support all countries, and especially those that need our support the most. As you know, the collapse of the market for personal protective equipment has created extreme difficulties in ensuring health workers have access to the equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.
This is an area of key concern for us.

We have now identified some producers in China who have agreed to supply WHO.
We’re currently finalizing the arrangements and coordinating shipments so we can refill our warehouse to ship PPE to whoever needs it most.

Our aim is to build a pipeline to ensure continuity of supply, with support from our partners, governments and the private sector. I am grateful to Jack Ma and his foundation as well as Aliko Dangote for their willingness to help provide essential supplies to countries in need.

To support our call to test every suspected case, we are also working hard to increase the global supply of diagnostic tests. There are many companies globally that produce diagnostic kits, but WHO can only buy or recommend kits that have been evaluated independently, to ensure their quality.

So we have worked with FIND – the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics – to contract additional labs to evaluate new diagnostics. In parallel, we’re working with companies to secure the supply and equitable distribution of these tests.

And we’re also working with companies to increase production of the other products needed to perform the tests, from the swabs used to take samples to the large machines needed to process them. We’re very grateful for the way the private sector has stepped up to lend its support to the global response.

Just in the past few days I’ve spoken with the International Chamber of Commerce, with many CEOs through the World Economic Forum, and with the “B20” group of business leaders from the G20 countries.

We understand the heavy financial toll this pandemic is taking on businesses and the global economy.

We’re encouraged by the solidarity and generosity of business leaders to use their resources, experience and networks to improve the availability of supplies, communicate reliable information and protect their staff and customers.

And we’re also encouraged that countries around the world continue to support the global response. We thank Kuwait for its contribution of 40 million U.S. dollars.

In addition to increasing access to masks, gloves, gowns and tests, we’re also increasing access to the evidence-based technical guidance countries and health workers need to save lives.

WHO has published guidelines for health ministers, health system administrators, and other decision-makers, to help them provide life-saving treatment as health systems are challenged, without compromising the safety of health workers.

The guidelines detail actions all countries can take to provide care for patients, regardless of how many cases they have. They also outline specific actions to prepare health systems, according to each of the “4 Cs” – no cases, sporadic cases, clusters of cases, and community transmission.

These guidelines provide a wealth of practical information on screening and triage, referral, staff, supplies, standard of care, community engagement and more.

We encourage all countries to use these and the many other guidelines, which are all available on the WHO website.

But we’re not only advising countries. We also have advice for individuals around the world, especially those who are now adjusting to a new reality. We know that for many people, life is changing dramatically.

My family is no different – my daughter is now taking her classes online from home because her school is closed. During this difficult time, it’s important to continue looking after your physical and mental health. This will not only help you in the long-term, it will also help you fight COVID-19 if you get it.

First, eat a health and nutritious diet, which helps your immune system to function properly.

Second, limit your alcohol consumption, and avoid sugary drinks. Third, don’t smoke. Smoking can increase your risk of developing severe disease if you become infected with COVID-19.

Fourth, exercise. WHO recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a say for adults, and one hour a day for children.

If your local or national guidelines allow it, go outside for a walk, a run or a ride, and keep a safe distance from others. If you can’t leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to music, do some yoga, or walk up and down the stairs.

If you’re working at home, make sure you don’t sit in the same position for long periods. Get up and take a 3-minute break every 30 minutes.
We will be providing more advice on how to stay healthy at home in the coming days and weeks.

Fifth, look after your mental health. It’s normal to feel stressed, confused and scared during a crisis. Talking to people you know and trust can help.

Supporting other people in your community can help you as much as it does them. Check in on neighbours, family and friends. Compassion is a medicine.

Listen to music, read a book or play a game.
And try not to read or watch too much news if it makes you anxious. Get your information from reliable sources once or twice a day.
To increase access to reliable information, WHO has worked with WhatsApp and Facebook to launch a new WHO Health Alert messaging service.

This service will provide the latest news and information on COVID-19, including details on symptoms and how to protect yourself.
The Health Alert service is now available in English and will be introduced in other languages next week.

To access it, send the word “hi” to the following number on WhatsApp: +41 798 931 892. We will make this information available on our website later today.

COVID-19 is taking so much from us. But it’s also giving us something special – the opportunity to come together as one humanity – to work together, to learn together, to grow together.
I thank you.

NAS sympathizes with citizens as COVID-19 wreaks havoc around the world

(Thessherald)– The National Salvation Front, a rebel faction led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, has sent a message of solidarity, sympathizing with the people of South Sudan at this critical juncture as the coronavirus has become a life-threatening threat to humanity around the world.

“The Leadership of The National Salvation Front stands in solidarity with you at this critical time in the history of humanity. As you are all aware, the world is facing the challenge of a serious infection called Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the opposition group said.

“The virus has now claimed many lives and has created panic in the whole world. This particular disease, which started in China in December, 2019 has now spread and affected many countries,” NAS added.

The rebel group stressed that, it is unfortunate that the current situation comes at a time when the entire country lacks health-care services as a result of the conflict.

“It can therefore affect any one of us. The World 1–lealth Organization (WHO) has declared the Coronavirus as a pandemic; meaning it is a disease that has spread worldwide. Sadly, this situation finds you abandoned without any healthcare services. Your resources are not being used for your wellbeing. You have been robbed of your basic rights and dignity.”

“I would therefore urge all the citizens of South Sudan whether inside the towns in the country, in the rural areas, Protection of Civilians (PoCs) sites, and refugee camps in the neighbouring countries to exercise vigilance and remain calm as you confront this pandemic. I call on you to maintain your resilience and take personal responsibility to keep healthy and overcome this situation in the absence of a people- focused leadership.”

Even though you lack the very basics of life at this critical time, I wish to share with you the following basic information and precautions based on World Health Organization (WHO) and NAS health specialists’ advice so as to help protect yourselves and your families from the Coronavirus:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water whenever you can even with the meagre resources.
  2. Avoid physical contact with one another by not shaking hands and/or embracing.
  3. Apply social distancing; meaning maintain a distance of at least one (1) meter between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose ofthe tissue immediately
  5. All social gathering like weddings and sporting events should be postponed.
  6. Places of worship where there is crowding should also be avoided.
  7. Avoid unnecessary movements particularly in public transport including aeroplanes.
  8. Report to the nearest health facility if you have symptoms like cough, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, high fever and unusual tiredness. Maintain social distance with those who have the symptoms mentioned above.
  9. Take good care ofthe elderly amongst you, they are the most vulnerable.
  10. Stay informed and follow advice ofyour healthcare personnel
    As part of the efforts to confront the spread of the Coronavirus, I do hereby issue the following directives:
  11. The NAS Medical Corp, medical doctors and health personnel of the National Salvation Front are directed to provide the necessary public health awareness and healthcare with special attention to our remote areas and villages.
  1. The NAS Information Committee and all the information organs of the Movement must immediately embark on awareness programmes to the people of South Sudan using all forms of the media to prevent and curb the spread ofthe pandemic.
  2. NAS information organs are further directed to continuously update the people of South Sudan on the state of the pandemic to give accurate and reliable reports to the people.

Kiir orders self-quarantine measures for senior officials arriving from abroad

Newly appointed Ministers taking oath of their offices in the capital Juba /Photo: PPU

(Thessherald)–South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit announced on Monday that all senior government officials who had recently arrived from countries affected by COVID-19 are ordered to self-quarantine immediately for days until further notice.

“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,” said President Kiir in a statement extended to the media.

Addressing the nation about the negative impact of the novel Coronavirus, President Kiir commissioned the law enforcement agency to support the Ministry of Health in implementing the new measures.

“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.”

President Kiir issued the following stringent measures aimed at containing the spread of the pandemic virus.

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.
  2. Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant for example kitchen benches and work desks;
  3. COVID-19 is spread by droplets. Maintain at least 1-metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  4. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

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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