8th August 2020
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One UNMISS staff dead, sixty recover from COVID

Author: Priscah Akol | Published: Friday, July 10, 2020

File: UNMISS personnel conducting a security sweep in its Juba camp. PHOTO//UNMISS/Isaac Bill

Sixty-six UN employee, including peacekeepers, have so far contracted the coronavirus, the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan has said.

The mission has recorded one death.

David Shearer said that is the number of those who tested positive since April 2020.

South Sudan registered its first coronavirus case 3 months ago.

The government said the first case of the virus in South Sudan was a U.N. civilian employee who travelled to the country from the Netherlands in February.

Health officials in Juba said she did not present any symptoms until several weeks after her arrival.

The second and third cases were also U.N. employees who had links with the first case.

About 20,000 UN peacekeepers are serving across South Sudan.

UNMISS said the peacekeepers may have contracted the virus while on duty in Juba.

Mr. Shearer told Eye Radio that 5 employees of the mission are still in quarantine, while sixty others have recovered.

“At the moment we officially got sixty-six people in the UN. Sixty have recovered, five are still in isolation who are positive and one person who has died from the disease, unfortunately,” said Shearer.

He also said the pandemic has affected peacekeeping patrols across the country.

Mr. Shearer added that the virus has harmed the execution of the UNMISS mandate in South Sudan.

“Our peacekeepers are not doing a number of patrols across the country. Now we only go to those places whith problems like Jonglei, Northern Unity and sometimes in Warrap,” he stated.

He said the limited operations is to protect UN staff from the possibility of contracting or spreading the virus.

“To protect ourselves as well and likewise the police inside the POCs, instead of doing foot patrols and shaking hands of people as they move around most people are not on vehicles, we are outside the POC,” Shearer said.

As of Thursday, July 9, one more person died from the novel coronavirus in South Sudan.

The new fatality was announced by the Ministry of Health.

According to the Coronavirus Incident Manager, the country has also confirmed an additional 16 new cases between Wednesday and Thursday.

Dr. Richard Laku said this brings the total of cumulative cases in South Sudan to 2,129.

He announced that a total of 1,065 people have so far recovered from the disease.

But 41 others have died.

Dr. Richard Laku repeated calls for the public to continue adhering to social distancing measures and wearing facemasks to reduce the spread of the virus.

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