By DailyNewsUG Correspondent,
South Sudan which eased its lockdown measures on Thursday last week, recorded a further 36 confirmed cases to increase its national tally to 156.
South Sudan’s Health ministry warned that there could be a full-blown outbreak of coronavirus in the country, as some COVID-19 patients are refusing to cooperate with health workers. COVID-19 is the illness triggered by the coronavirus.
The virus has spread from the capital, Juba, to the cities of Yei and Bentiu and the disputed Abyei region along the Sudan/South Sudan border.
Dr Mathew Tut, deputy incident manager for South Sudan’s COVID-19 task force, said laboratory technicians are able to test only 500 samples per week, which he said hampers efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. More worrisome, only 18 of the country’s 156 confirmed cases are being managed at an isolation centre, according to Tut.
Some patients have refused to cooperate with health officials, making contact tracing very difficult, according to Dr Joseph Wamala, the WHO’s emergency response officer in South Sudan. He said their reluctance to help with contact tracing means the virus can spread uninterruptedly.
“The big threat they pose is to their immediate family members … to their immediate family, friends but also to the community,” Wamala told South Sudan in Focus.
He said people need to take the pandemic seriously, “because COVID-19 is non-forgiving. When it strikes, it strikes hard.”
As the number of COVID-19 cases rises in South Sudan, Loi said the task force will work with outside agencies to fight the spread of the disease.
“We will definitely need other actors to come on board in terms of taking care of other elements that are outside the scope of the Ministry of Health or the health sector; feeding and taking care of those patients for example, whether they are in quarantine and whether they are asked to be in isolation in their homes,” Loi told VOA.
A total of 40 deaths and 2,330 new cases were registered on Monday in Africa.