This bi-weekly bulletin is designed for journalists in South Sudan reporting on the COVID-19 epidemic, and other related health and development challenges. It contains practical tips for reporting, provides verified information about public health measures of the Ministry of Health and partners, and gathers trustworthy media (re)sources for media partners. It also shares citizen concerns on COVID-19 and the humanitarian response.
Case count & stats South Sudan continues to see a rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 2,748 confirmed cases, 2560 recoveries and 50 deaths, as of 7 October 2020. (Source: Ministry of Health). Continued caution is needed with neighboring countries reopening airports and land borders for travelers. On 1 October, for example, the Ugandan Government announced that it will reopen Entebbe airport and land borders like Elegu and Nimule for both tourists and other travelers.
Journalists in South Sudan report that misinformation continues to exist, which may lead people to ease restrictions and personal protective measures. Citizens across Juba report that there is a strong disbelief around the existence of COVID-19, with many stating that “COVID-19 is over”. Additionally, speculations about COVID-19 being “good business” for response organizations was common, particularly across Juba. Feedbacks collected from Bor reported that citizens in the area believed COVID-19 was washed away by the recent floods and that locals believe they have strong immunity against COVID-19.
In UN House PoC in Juba there was mention of humanitarian staff being “bad examples” by moving around without face masks while conducting COVID-19 response activities. Besides COVID-19 PoC residents stressed the need for additional, urgent humanitarian needs including food, and security. Victimization and stigmatization of people wearing masks was also frequently recorded, and could be one of the main reasons why some people fear wearing masks (as they are labelled “corona carriers”).