FOREIGNER first Coronavirus case in Juba

By Sheila Ponnie

 South Sudan has confirmed it’s first case of the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic becoming the last country in the East African Region to do so.

The patient is a female aged 29 years old working for the United Nations (UN) who arrived in the country from Netherlands via Addis Ababa on the 28th of February 2020, According to First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar the deputy chairperson of the High Level Taskforce COVID-19.

The patient has been in the country for five weeks and has been working from home. However, the patient has no history of underlying or pre-existing illness.

 “The suspect presented herself to the United Nations clinic on the 2rd of April 2020 with fever, cough, headache and shortness of breath,” Dr. Machar said.

 “The Ministry of health Rapid Response Team (RRT) went to the clinic and collected samples on that same day and the initial test came positive. A second run of the confirmation test also returned positive,” he explained.

She is currently in isolation and is in a good health.  The Ministry of Health is leading a full outbreak investigation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) including identifying and following up all the possible contacts, Dr. Machar further said

David Shearer, the Special representative of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan said a full  list of who had been in contact with the patient is being complied, adding quarantine and follow up had begun immediately.

“The UN is working together with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and the High Level Taskforce to ensure that this case was handled well.

“The patient has been in the country for five weeks much longer than the 14 days and there is need to check who that person had been in conduct with and who might  perhaps have gotten the virus and also to make sure it is important to make a trace to where she had been.”

Meanwhile the government is urging the public to remain calm and that the High Level Taskforce had put in place relevant public health measures to contain the situation.

Dr. Machar stressed the need for people to continue practicing social distancing as the only way to minimize the risk of contracting and transmitting the disease.

“No physical contact outside of household including no handshaking, no hugging, and keep two meters (six feet) distance between two individuals and wash hands regularly with soap and water,” he advises

The Government further urged employers, both public and private to encourage their employees to work from home.

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