Uganda closes Elegu border over Coronavirus

By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

The Uganda government has locked down her border with South Sudan over fear of Coronavirus (COVID-19) as of Saturday while South Sudan is also considering taking the same measures.

Speaking during the installation of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Juba, Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga said South Sudan was also considering closing the South Sudan Border with Uganda.

“So we are also going to reciprocate, we are going to do the same for the protection of our people,” he stated.

“Over fear of Coronavirus, Uganda closed down the border on Saturday but we complained to them about the food supplies. So eventually this morning (Sunday), they told us that they will open it only for cargos and in that car or vehicle, the driver and his assistance will only be allowed,” he narrated.

The boarder was completely closed for more than 12 hours before priority was given to cargos on Sunday at 11:00am, according to a senior official at the Nimule Migration department.

Nimule remains a key entry point for South Sudan as most of the food items enter through Nimule Border.

Dr. Igga said only cargos carrying food supplies were later on given priority to cross to South Sudan side after the authorities complained over landlocked nature of the country. 

Dr. Igga asked the citizens to respect necessary precautions and guidelines in a bid to fight the intensification of the deadly virus.

While other major points of entry to South Sudan continue to remain operational especially Juba International Airport, other countries like Rwanda and Uganda have imposed total lockdown on their points of receptions over fear of Coronavirus.

An official who sought anonymity claimed that the buses which have always been operating between Juba and Kampala were shut down with Ugandan nationals granted entrance to Uganda while all the foreigners were put on hold.

Speaking during the installation of the metropolitan archbishop of Juba yesterday, Vice President, Dr. Igga revealed that the leadership of the country was able to convince Ugandan counterparts to allow cargo to come to South Sudan since the country is landlocked.

According to Dr. Igga, other means of transport especially daily transport buses to Uganda were also barred by Uganda authorities from entering.

Dr. Igga figured out that South Sudan was going to imitate the same strategy to prevent her citizens from contacting the virus.

Another official who wished to be anonymous since he was not mandated to speak to the media worried that South Sudan would face a deteriorating situation should Uganda impose a total lockdown later.

“The situation will be difficult for us in South Sudan since most of the commodities come from different countries,” he stated.

He stated that the custom officials were making all the efforts to rush all the released cargos to Juba for supplies immediately before a total lockdown was echoed.

“As custom authorities, we are trying to make necessary procedures easier so that the trucks which have already been released reach Juba with the goods in time. In case of anything later, people will know what to do,” he concluded.

Meanwhile Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has cut off all border entry points.

All the international flights, use of transport buses, taxis and pedestrians in and out of Uganda have been barred.

In East African countries, South Sudan has only remained to be virus free after Uganda reported its first case of the COVID-19 on Saturday.

World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for Africa has last week recommended that basic preventative measures by individuals and communities remain the most powerful and effective tool to the spread of COVID-19 from reaching to virus free countries.

At least 39 countries in Africa have reported cases of COVID-19 with Uganda being latest in the list as of weekend.

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