Home | News    Monday 16 March 2020

Kiir urges South Sudanese to be vigilant over coronavirus outbreak

March 16, 2020 (JUBA) - South Sudanese President has called for vigilance over coronavirus after the emergence of the respiratory disease in neighbouring countries.

President Salva Kiir speaks at the army's command council in Juba on October 31, 2019 (PPU photo)Kiir made his first comment on the global pandemic on Friday 13 March at the funeral prayer of Deng de Mabior the elder brother of the late John Garang de Mabior the founder of the historical SPLM.

President Salva Kiir urged the mourners to be cautious of the widespread of the coronavirus in the neighbouring countries, hinting to the announcement of the first case in Kenya, Ethiopia on the same day as Sudan did it on Thursday.

He further said people should adapt their behaviour and stop shaking hands or hugging each other to avoid transmitting the virus particularly as there is no treatment or vaccine to stop it.

"We cannot do anything about it, but what you need to do is avoiding greetings that involve handshakes or hugging," Kiir said.

"If it’s important greeting someone that involves contacts, then knock your elbows or foot," he added.

While the pandemic is growing at alarming rates in Europe and the U.S., coronavirus cases are declining in China and other Asian countries.

Africa is expected to be the home of the third wave of the outbreak.

While East Africa is the last to confirm coronavirus cases, on Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared that COVID-19 had become a "national disaster."

Observers in Juba, however, want the government to launch a radio and TV campaign to raise awareness and encourage South Sudanese to observe basic protective measures against the new coronavirus.