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JUBA - 21 Mar 2020

Travellers to South Sudan to pay for quarantine

Health ministry undersecretary Makur Matur Koryom speaks to reporters in June, 2016. (File photo)
Health ministry undersecretary Makur Matur Koryom speaks to reporters in June, 2016. (File photo)

Travellers entering South Sudan from countries affected by COVID-19 will be quarantined for 14 days at their own expenses, authorities announced on Saturday.

This comes as governments around the world introduced new restrictions to contain the new coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was taken during a meeting of the high-level coronavirus committee in Juba.

The new body, which consists of 13 members, is tasked to take measures to prevent and prepare for the new coronavirus. It is chaired by President Salva Kiir and deputised by First Vice President Riek Machar.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the undersecretary of the National Ministry of Health, Dr. Makur Koryom said everybody entering South Sudan from countries affected by the new coronavirus will be transferred to an isolation facility for 14 days.

The passengers would have to pay for the quarantine, the health official said, without specifying the cost.

“They will go through the screening at the ports of entry, and then they will be taken to designated quarantine centres at their own costs,” he explained.

Separately, Makur said the necessary unified forces undergoing training at military camps have been advised to take precautions because of coronavirus.

“They must observe protection procedures. For example, if you are talking to someone or tending to someone, then you have to observe a distance of one meter,” he explained.

Makur revealed that the unified forces have been instructed to remain in their training camps across the country and avoid unnecessary movements.

The process of gathering soldiers into training sites with a view to forming a unified army is a cornerstone of the 2018 peace agreement.

On Thursday, Dr. Angok Gordon Kuol, the Incident Manager for Coronavirus, urged South Sudanese to adhere to the guidelines provided by the government and its partners in preventing the coronavirus.

Besides observing high standards of hygiene, the health official asked South Sudanese to limit unnecessary human contact.

Last week, South Sudan suspended direct flights to countries affected by COVID-19, as the illness is officially known.

South Sudan has no confirmed case of the new coronavirus but neighbouring Sudan, Ethiopia, Congo and Kenya, have all reported confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Globally, the number of infected hit 289,948 and deaths reached nearly 12,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as more governments resorted to drastic measures to contain the spread.