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YEI - 2 Mar 2021

Yei residents blame soaring Covid-19 cases to lack of enforcement

Residents in Yei River County of Central Equatoria State say a lack of enforcement measures has contributed to the rising cases of Covid-19 in the county.

Last month, the National Taskforce on Covid-19 directed all security forces to enforce a ban on public gatherings, sporting, religious and political events and ensure citizens adhere to social distancing, wear face masks and regularly clean their hands with soap and water. This followed reports of an upsurge in Covid-19 cases across the country.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, Guya Robert, a resident in Yei River County said many people do not obey the Covid-19 preventive measures due to lack of punitive measures against violators. 

"One of the major reasons is that the implementation of the preventives measures by the enforcement agencies and the committee tasked to combat Covid-19 are not monitoring the preventive measures and there are no penalties attached for people who violate the preventive measures. That is why people are relaxed and they think there is no Covid-19 in the county,” he said.

Justoson Victor, another resident in Yei said, "I see a huge gap on Covid-19 preventive measures. The lockdown measures are not practical and have not worked on the ground. If the patients who tested positive are not seen in isolation centers, that makes citizens ask if there is Covid-19 in Yei.”

Aloro Stephen, a resident of the Kanjoro neighborhood in Yei town said many people are ignorant about Covid-19 preventive measures.

“People in Yei believe that Covid-19 is not real and they think they are used to the harsh environment. Recently we had 11 new cases confirmed in Yei and these patients do not have Covid-19 signs and that could be one of the reasons why many people don’t adhere to Covid-19 preventive protocols,” he suggested. 

For his part, Yei River County disease surveillance officer Bida Martin confirmed that the Covid-19 transmission rate is on the rise in Yei town.

“Last week, we had 34 confirmed positive cumulative cases with one death, and nine other active cases under follow-up. Our biggest challenge here is that people don’t listen to the preventive measures," he said. "I want to tell the people in Yei that Covid-19 is real and once you are in public, let us observe the social distance, use face masks and wash your hands with clean water and soap,” he noted.

The county police commissioner Maj. Gen. Yoasa Lujang Kamba admitted that enforcement of the measures has been a challenge.  

“At the moment, the police lacks a means of mobility like cars to move from one area to another to disperse off people crowding in one place. We also call on the people to understand that Covid-19 is real and let people take personal care in protecting themselves,” he said.

Today, South Sudan recorded 161 new confirmed cases bringing the total cumulative number to 8,305. Two people succumbed to the virus, raising the cumulative number of deaths to 97.