South Sudan to receive its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines today

Juba—As the rest of the world steps up the fight against Covid-19 virus, South Sudan is expected to receive the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines as part of the vaccination program under the African Union and the African Center for Disease Control with support from MTN Telecom company.

The 59,000 doses of the Oxford-made AstraZeneca vaccine are being shipped and expected to arrive at the Juba International Airport today, the Ministry of Health announced.

In a related development, a bigger consignment of 132,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in Juba on Thursday, through the COVAX global vaccination program for poorer nations, according to Radio Miraya.

According to the incident manager for COVID-19 in the national ministry of health, Dr. Richard Lino Laku, the first groups to be vaccinated are the frontline health care workers and people above the age of 65, as part of a national plan to vaccinate 20% of the population in the first phase.

Government to impose heavy fines on Covidiots

As citizens continue to flout Covid-19 measures, the National Task-Force on COVID-19 has announced heavy fines for anyone who doesn’t comply with the strict guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization.

So far, the Coronavirus has claimed more than 100 lives, forcing the Ministry of Health and the National Task-Force on COVID-19 to impose additional lockdowns as preventive measures to counter the spread of the virus.

Press Statement

New Restrictions and Penalties to Enforce Public Compliance with Measures to Reduce COVID-19 Spread

Whereas, the COVID-19 has been declared as a Pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Taskforce on Coronavirus Pandemic issued the Public Order No. 01/2021 dated 3 February 2021 to effect the partial lockdown measures, which will remain in force up to the 3rd March 2021.

Whereas, to enforce the National COVID-19 Guidelines and partial lockdown measures, the National Taskforce has considered it necessary to take further measures to prevent wider spread of COVID-19 across the country.

In view of the above, the National Taskforce is hereby once again putting in place the following measures:

• Extending the partial lockdown for additional one month starting from 3nd March to 3rd April 2021, subject to review.

• Warning the Public to stop receiving dead bodies in numbers at the airport, receptions and burials. This should only be attended to by not more than twenty immediate relatives:

• Only authorized health facilities are allowed to use the approved antigen- based rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for screening purposes. Meanwhile, interested facilities are advised to apply to the NTF for authorization.

• Warning all the public and private health facilities not to admit any COVID- 19 patient or suspect. They should instate alert the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) by calling free toll, 6666;

• Directing Juba City Council and other town municipal councils to ensure that traders, hotels, customers and the general public comply with environmental cleaning, hygiene and sanitation, COVID-19 Guidelines and lockdown measures; and

• Directing Civil Aviation administration to assign more personnel to enforce COVID-19 measures at the entrance and within the airport to ensure all travelers comply with civil aviation safety and COVID-19 protocols.

The National Taskforce issues this Order to effect the following restrictions and measures for enforcing the COVID-19 protocols and partial lockdown measures in force, along with other South Sudan Panel Code 2008 that shall be applicable on whoever:

(a) Violates the guidelines banning funeral rites, reception, transport and burial of dead bodies.

(b) Does not comply with infection prevention and control measures at public places such as health facilities, airports, markets, hotels, restaurants, shops, tea places, public and private institutions,

(c) Transports people in public or private vehicles, boda-bodas and rakshas (rickshas) at more than half-capacity.

(d) Does not wear facemasks and observe social distancing measures in public places, vehicles, boda-bodas and rakshas (rickshas).

(e) Crew or passenger does not comply with precautionary measures at bus stations, airports, riverports and borders.

(f) Smuggles persons across borders or helping with illegal entry in to South Sudan territories.

(g) Does not comply with closure of learning institutions, sports activities, social events, places of worship, bars, nightclubs or other places that attract gatherings

(h) Disseminates false information or data on social media or misinformation related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

WHO donates medical kits for flood-affected communities in Jonglei

Health workers offloading emergency medical kits donated by the World Health Organization |Photo: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has donated sets of emergency medical kits to its partner agencies operating in Jonglei, one of the hardest-hit states in the country.

The medical assistance was channeled through Christian Mission for Development (CMD), Medicair South Sudan, and Health Action for Africa running Health Cluster in Manyo, Canal Piji and Bor counties.

Since last year, nearly 20,000 people have been affected and displaced to neighboring areas due to worst flooding.

The affected people are in urgent need of food, livelihood support, emergency shelter as well as non-food items (ES/NFI), water, sanitation and hygiene, health and protection services.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 2. 7 million people are expected to face severe food insecurity in the next few months, posing an alarming situation in a country still facing other challenges.

South Sudan toughens restrictive measures as COVID-19 cases surge

South Sudan has toughened restrictive measures amid an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, the Chairman of the National Task-Force on COVID-19, Hussein Abdelbaggi, announced on Wednesday.

“Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 Pandemic in the Country and around the globe, and as precautionary measures for all public and private sectors, the National Taskforce on COVID-19 is hereby putting in place the following Measures:

• 1) Ban of all social gatherings such as sporting events, religious events including Sunday Church Prayers, “Salat Al Juma” -Mosque Prayers, funerals, weddings ceremonies and political events;

• 2) Closure of all pre-schools, schools, Universities and all other institutions of learning except elasses scheduled for examinations with observations of striet protective measures;

• 3) Both private and public sectors to make provision to allow the non- essential staff to stay home on a paid leave or alternate their staff in shifts;

• 4) Closure of all businesses, which attract crowds such as; shisha stalls, bars, nightclubs, day parties, betting, cards and dominos. Meanwhile, Restaurants and tea places must strictly adhere to Covid-19 measures otherwise, failure to do so they can be closed;

• 5) Limiting bus and taxi passenger load to half capacity, restricting Raksha to two passengers and Bodaboda to cargo transport of strictly one person as long as there is a mask;

• 6) All the incoming passengers flights must have COVID-19 free test certificates;

• 7) Council of Ministers shall conduct only extra ordinary meetings with strict protective measures;

• 8) Strict mandatory wearing of facemask, strict social distancing and avoid handshake;

• 9) Airports and flights country wide shall observe strict adherence to COVID-19 measures;

• 10) All the Uniformed forces must strictly follow COVID-19 measures and finally, the National Taskforce instructs the law enforcement Agencies to take immediate action to impose the order as of today, 3rd February, 2021;

• 11) These measures shall last for a period of one month from the 3rd of February to 3rd of March, 2021 but subject to review.”

• 12) The National Taskforce on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic remains seized of the situation.


Signed By:

H.E. Hussein Abdelbagi Akol Vice President of the Repnblic of South Sudan and Chairman of the National Taskforce on COVID-19

TMEA donates PPE worth $110,000 in the fight against COVID-19 in S. Sudan

       By Buay Kapduel
South Sudanese authorities receive PPE from TMEA officials in Juba |Photo: © TMEA

As the world continues to step up the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus on all fronts, TradeMark East Africa has donated to South Sudan – Personal Protective Equipment valued at over $100,000.

The equipment provided includes hand sanitizers, hand washing stations, liquid hand washing soap, infrared thermometers, re-usable safety boots, full protective PPE, filtering full face respirators, reusable masks, plastic face shields, disposable gloves, hand sanitiser dispensers and disinfectant spray bottles.

“The PPE we have received from TradeMark East Africa could not have come at a more opportune time. Whereas as a government we have made concerted efforts to minimize infections across the country, the re-emergence of the disease in parts of the continent as well as new strains of the virus continue to pose a big threat to the health of our populations. We must double efforts in order to protect the health and livelihoods of our people” said Mou Mou Athian, EAC Under Secretary.

On his part, the Commissioner General of South Sudan National Revenue Authority, Dr. Patrick Mugoya noted that the non-oil revenues collected at their Nimule border point have greatly improved the country’s economy.

“This border is very key due to the amount of trade volumes it controls. We are keen to enhance and protect both government workers and traders in order to foster both our economy as well as revenue collection” said the Commissioner General.

“The equipment presented today will enhance the safety and working conditions of front-line workers at the Nimule Border, the crossing point between South Sudan and Uganda and which controls an estimated 90% of international trade in South Sudan,” the statement further added.

On his part, TradeMark East Africa Country Representative John Bosco Kalisa underscored the importance of a multi-sectoral approach towards improving the faltering economy.

“As we witnessed last year, the challenges posed by Covid19 are first health-related, then immediately economic in terms of their negative impact on the social-economic standards of our people. In order to protect trade and livelihoods, TradeMark will continue working with the Government of South Sudan to address challenges posed by Covid19 on trade as well as other other trade barriers.” Noted the Country Representative.

According to TMEA, the donation of these medical facilities is part of the Safe Trade Emergency Facility, a US$ 23 million emergency program rolled out following the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019.

Kenya Airways resumes international flights, blacklists South Sudan

Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA, Photo| AFP

August 2, 2020 (Thessherald)–On Saturday, the government of Kenya released a new amended list of countries whose citizens will be exempt and allowed to travel to Kenya, with the exception of South Sudan, Tanzania and other countries at higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Kenya directed that International Air Travel would resume on 1st August, 2020 and instructed the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works to develop a Protocol to ensure the safety of travellers,” the Kenyan government announced on Saturday.

“The Ministry in consultation with relevant stakeholders prepared a Protocol for Air Travel Operations during the Covid-19 Public Health Crisis. The protocol seeks to provide guidelines to ensure that air travel remains safe during the pandemic for domestic and international flights.”

“The Protocol recognizes that the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been experienced in most sectors of the economy and the aviation industry is amongst the worst impacted.”

List of countries identified and announced yesterday from which travelers will be exempt from quarantine include:

Canada
South Korea
Namibia
Uganda
China
Rwanda
Morocco
Japan
Zimbabwe
Ethiopia
Switzerland.

Additional countries identified [on Saturday] following further review and Consultation between the Cabinet Secretaries responsible for Transport, Health and Tourism:
The United States of America (except for California, Florida and Texas;
United Kingdom
France
Netherlands
Quarter
United Arab Emirates
Italy.

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 malualmakuach77@gmail.com


Note: The views expressed in the ‘Opinion’ section are sole responsibility of individual authors and will take full responsibility, liability and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The South Sudan Herald is not liable for any comment submitted by individuals authors and reserve the right to delete any opinion piece for any reason whatsoever.

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Citizen urges Kiir to form High-Level Task Force on Hunger

President Salva Kiir Mayardit signing a document at the State House in Juba/Photo: File

May 17, 2020 (Thessherald)–In an exclusive interview with The South Sudan Herald, a concerned South Sudanese citizen has sent an open letter, urging President Salva Kiir Mayardit to form a High-Level Task Force on Hunger, saying that as the leaders focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity remains an epicentre of concern that can also lay siege to the country.

“Hunger is looming large across the country. My President Salva Kiir Mayardit, as you continue to fight against the spread of the disease, you can also establish a High-Level Task Force on Hunger,” said Akuany Agany on Saturday.

“As I speak now, one gallon [Mallow of Dura] costs 1200 ssp in Kuajok and Konyokonyo too. How can our ordinary people who earn no salaries or with salaries of 1150 ssp afford this?.”

He is not the only concerned citizen out there, as the Coronavirus continues to affect the lives of people all over the world, millions of families in South Sudan are concerned about losing their sources of income, if the situation goes out of control.

Last month, a COVID-19 patient reportedly escaped quarantine measures in an attempt to avert hunger.

There are also major concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic may coincide with the start of the lean season, a scenario that could push millions to the brink of starvation.

“Enough is enough,” Kiir urges an end to all forms of violence

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit speaking to reporters in the capital Juba/Photo: unknown

May 15, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit has called on political and military leaders to end all forms of violence and steer the country to peace and stability.

Kiir made the remarks on Friday while addressing the nation on the occasion of the SPLA Day Anniversary, which is marked on May 16th, on an annual basis.

“Enough is enough, the peace we must pursue at all costs and to silence all the guns as this is the demand of our people, the order of the African Union and the world,” said President Salva Kiir Mayardit in a written speech.

“I, therefore, call upon the SSPDF, SPLA-IO, and SSOMA, especially NAS, to observe the terms of the Rome Declaration and Resolution strictly, particularly the ceasefire provision. We must close all the files of war and open new files for dialogue and peaceful resolution of grievances. This option is cheap, fast, and saves lives.”

“Those of us entrusted with the responsibility to lead must do so with a great sense of humility and duty and give our people hope. The banner of freedom, justice, and progress under which many lives were martyred must continue to guide our actions. We must now shift our focus away from old enemies to new enemies. These new enemies are illiteracy, poverty, diseases, underdevelopment, and famine.”

[16th -May] is commemorated yearly in honor of the country’s fallen heroes and heroines

16th, May marks the day the SPLM/SPLA was established to wage a war against various regimes in Khartoum, advocating for a secular state.

In 1983, a group of mutineers led by Major Kerubino Kuanyin and Yusif Kiir Tang from the army garrison in Bor opened fire on their Sudanese counterparts, sparking the outbreak of conflict in Ayod, Pibor and other parts of the then Southern Sudan.

Major William Nyuon in Ayod garrison and Capt David Riek Machuoc in Pibor garrison also mutinied, and Capt. Salva Kiir and Lt. Col Francis Ngor in Malakal followed suit.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation could be a country full of hope following its independence from Sudan. However, it’s now mired in political conflicts, exacerbated by an economic meltdown and endless violence that has so far caused widespread displacement across the country.

Presidency cautions journalists against unethical reporting on COVID-19

President Salva Kiir Mayardit
President Salva Kiir addressing a news conference in the capital, Juba/Photo: File

May 13, 2020 (Thessherald)–The High-Level Task Force on COVID-19 has warned of punitive measures against some media outlets that publish details of COVID-19 patients, and urged them to desist from non-professional reporting practices.

In a strongly worded statement, the High-Level Task Forces denounced such practices and urged the news outlets to strictly adhere to principles of ethical journalism.

“The High-Level Taskforce strongly denounces the wave of information and disinformation around COVID- 19 disease including publishing in social media, names of private citizens allegedly confirmed COVID-19 positive,” said the statement issued today by the Presidency.

“The High-Level Taskforce wishes to assure the public that the Ministry of Health does not publish names nor does it share any information about private citizens in public or social media. The Taskforce urges the public to ignore this malicious propaganda, and further warns the culprits to desist from their hateful puffery.”

The Presidency encourages the victims who might have been affected by the actions to take legal proceedings against those journalists.

“Private citizens falling victims of this spiteful hype reserve the right of taking legal action against the perpetrators.”

As of today, the number of COVID-19 cases in the world’s youngest nation has surpassed 200.

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