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JUBA - 17 Feb 2021

Over 20 employees at Kiir’s office test positive for Covid-19

Over 20 employees at the South Sudanese president’s office have tested positive for Covid-19, the president’s spokesperson has said.

“About 20 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the office of the president. These are junior personnel like drivers, cooks, and bodyguards. Two junior officials in the office, who have no contact with the president, also tested positive,” President Sava Kiir’s Spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told Radio Tamazuj Wednesday.

 According to Ateny, the South Sudanese leader is healthy and has not contracted the virus contrary to "rumours making rounds in South Sudan and the region."

Apart from rumours circulating to the effect that President Kiir and members of his staff, including presidential affairs minister, Nhial Deng Nhial tested positive for Covid-19, on Monday a Ugandan television, NBS Television, reported that President Kiir tested positive.

Ateny dismissed the report and said: “No, it is not true. That is all misinformation. It is fake. On his official website, there is nothing like that and he has not contracted coronavirus. The president was in the office this afternoon and just went back home. He is okay and healthy.”

Asked why the president has not been going to the office for the last few days, Ateny said, “He has been working from home as a precaution because there are people in the office of the president who tested positive for Covid-19. A driver and a bodyguard who travel in the presidential vehicle tested positive but the president was negative.”

According to Ateny, as a precaution, it was decided that the president work from home and that all officials take the Covid-19 test and if one tests positive then they have to follow the procedure of quarantining for 14 days till they recover and test negative. 

He said that the presidential affairs minister, security minister, Gen. Obutu Mamur, the executive director in the president’s office, and all the secretaries of the president tested negative and are all well.

Earlier this month, the South Sudan Taskforce on Covid-19 reintroduced a one-month partial lockdown after a surge of cases across the country.

Today alone, the Public Health Laboratory in Juba recorded four new Covid-19 deaths and 152 confirmed cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 6,084.

South Sudan registered its first Covid-19 case on April 5, 2020.

The government imposed restrictions last March, including the closure of borders. But in May 2020, the taskforce on Covid-19 allowed businesses to reopen and reduced the curfew time from the initial 7 pm-6 am to 10 pm-6 am.