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.
COVID-19 is not over, say public health officials
South Sudan COVID-19 Incident Manager Dr. Richard Lako has sounded a warning for the increase of coronavirus cases in the past weeks, predicting a second wave of the virus in the country.
Lako attributed the increased rate of the virus to the recent influx of refugees from the neighboring countries Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda. “From last months, we nearly received new additional 90 imported cases that came from neighboring country Uganda and these are South Sudanese who are returning homes,” Dr. Lako said: “The concern was that these 90 cases from returnees in the country would generate new infection into the community” (Source: Radio Tamazuj).
Likewise, the Ministry of Health has warned of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic after having registered an increase in positive cases in recent weeks. The Director of the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre at the Ministry of Health Dr. Mathew Tut Moses reported to Eye Radio: “It seems the number of positive cases is increasing and that is an indication that the disease is still with us”. “So, people don’t need to relax and think that COVID is over and feel complacent,” Dr. Tut added. (Source: Eye Radio). Additionally, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) warned the continent to brace for a second wave of the coronavirus as cases surge in Europe and some African countries (Source: CNN).
However, Internews media partners continue to report that citizens belief that the opening of borders, schools, worship places and relaxation of restrictions must mean “that COVID-19 is over”.
Journalists also reported that some of the schools and worship places did not fulfill the government guidelines when opening services again. Misperceptions about masks and negative attitudes towards those wearing masks also continues to be a challenge. The flood disaster in many parts of the country has displaced citizens and forced them to live in crowded shelter, which again is providing additional risks related to the spread of the COVID-19 virus (Source:
Internews partners part of the “Info Saves Lives” project).
Remember, as a women in Bunagok reported, through our rumor reporting mechanism: “vital information regarding health is to be taken seriously in this difficult time of COVID-19. This could help and can even save the lives of our people”, she wisely stated. WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the World Health Assembly are critical: “We might be tired of COVID-19. But it is not tired of us. Yes, it preys on those in weaker health. But it preys on other weaknesses, too: inequality, division, denial, wishful thinking and willful ignorance.
We cannot negotiate with it, nor close our eyes and hope it goes away.
It pays no heed to political rhetoric or conspiracy theories. Our only hope is science, solutions and solidarity.” (Source: WHO)