Panic in South Sudan as ten cabinet ministers test positive for coronavirus
London, May 22, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Ten ministers in South Sudan are now confirmed to have contracted coronavirus, a situation causing panic in the crisis ridden country
Information Minister Michael Makuei has told the BBC that all former members of the high-level task force on coronavirus – apart from the health minister – have tested positive for Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.
But he has denied reports that President Salva Kiir – who was also a member of the team – had also tested positive.
It comes just days after first Vice president Riek Machar and his wife who doubles as tested positive for the deadly virus
They tested positive after coming into contact with a former member of the team, who has Covid-19.
All the ministers infected are now in self-isolation and the government says they are in good health.
Dozens of bodyguards and staff of the officials also tested positive and are quarantined.
South Sudan has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in recent days with 481 confirmed cases and six deaths.
There are fears the virus could cause havoc in South Sudan, whose healthcare system is barely functioning following decades of conflict, while hundreds of thousands are living in camps for displaced people
South Sudan, which is emerging from a devastating six-year civil war, has so far recorded 481 cases of COVID-19 and six deaths, according to the latest figures from the health ministry
Though the number is relatively low, aid agencies are sounding the alarm over a sharp rise in cases in recent days.
Last week, the UN said at least two people living in camps for the internally displaced had tested positive raising fears that coronavirus could spread rapidly in the overcrowded camps.
A case has also been confirmed in a similar camp in northern Bentiu, home to almost 120,000 people.
The country continues to be gripped by humanitarian emergency and hunger, even after Machar and President Salva Kiir – the main rivals in the civil war – formed a unity government in February.