19th June 2021
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Doctors’ Union raises alarm over Indian Coronavirus variant

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Friday, May 7, 2021

File: Health workers during a physical TOT training on COVID-19 for frontline medical workers/ South Sudan Doctor's Union.

South Sudan Doctors’ Union has raised the alarm over the possible importation of the coronavirus variant from India into South Sudan.

The Union urged the government of South Sudan to immediately ban any inbound flight from India.

India reported more than 410,000 new coronavirus cases and 3,645 new deaths on Thursday alone.

Its total cases passed 18 million as gravediggers worked around the clock to bury victims and hundreds more were cremated in makeshift fires in parks and parking areas.

Kenya and Uganda have also confirmed their first cases of coronavirus variant from India.

The two countries have canceled flights to and from India to stop any further transmission.

But South Sudan is yet to announce the suspension of the flights from India.

Bol Deng, the secretary-general of the South Sudan Doctors’ Union says the government must act to ensure the variant is not transmitted into the country.

“This situation in India is worrisome because the variant that is spreading in India is a new variant and it seems one of the serious variants because we have seen the death toll in India,” Bol Deng said.

“It should be a major concern for our country also to make sure that this type of variant is not transported to the country because we have been working on the response to Covid-19 and the general situation has been a little bit not like the one that’s happening in other countries, so people should work hard to prevent this from being transmitted into the country.”

Last week, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention warned that India’s intense outbreak was a reminder that Africa must stay vigilant.

According to the U.S Centre for Disease Control, scientists are still working to learn more about how easily the variant is spread, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against them.

But it said the existing variants seem to spread more easily and quickly which may lead to more cases of coronavirus, and potentially more deaths.

The spokesperson of the South Sudan Ministry of Health confirmed that the country is yet to detect any case of coronavirus variant.

Dr. Richard Laku told Eye Radio that they are closely monitoring the situation through the airport and the border crossings.

“The immediate measure is we try to liaise with the Juba International Airport and border authorities to make ensure that we track everybody who had travel history to India.”

“We make sure that we follow them after five and seven days we take a sample to test them. If they are positive we make sure that they are quarantined.”

The coronavirus variant was first detected in India in October last year.

The CDC advises that rigorous and increased compliance with public health mitigation strategies, such as vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine, is essential to limit the spread of the virus that causes coronavirus and protect public health.

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