DIT ABRAHAM KUANY (JUBA). South Sudan’s Ministry of Health has dispelled the social media rumours that the son of the Chief Justice has fallen ill with coronavirus, saying he is well and has not tested positive to COVID-19, and is asymptomatic.
In an exclusive interview with the Northern Corridor Morning Post on Tuesday via cell-phone, Dr. Angok Gordon Kuol, the coronavirus incident manager says the alleged sick son, together with his brothers were well and have no sign or symptoms of the deadly virus since their return to the country last month.
“We in the ministry of health have not received any information particularly from the house of the Chief Justice. This rumours trending on social media are fake reports and unverifiable information. The Ministry’s health experts went to the home of the Chief Justices and found that they had no complaints or signs of the virus in the house.
“When they returned from abroad, after the standoff at the airport, they were screened and none had showed any signs. So, they were asked to go and quarantine for 14 days and they would be called or further checks after the date. Since then, our team kept checking on them and none has been diagnosed with any signs of the global pandemic” said Dr. Angok
Last month, chaos erupted at Juba International Airport when Justice Chan Reec who upon arrival with his sons, refused to be screened for Covid-19.
Asked by NCMT why the President contradicted himself and ordered for the release of Chief Justice last month, Ateny Wek Ateny stressed that the president intervened to quell the tension.
The Presidential Press Secretary described Chief Justice Chan Reec as a law-abiding citizen, citing that the screening team might have approached poorly. An official comment that was widely criticized by many South Sudanese on social media, questioning how a law-abiding citizen would cause chaos instead of being exemplary in their conduct.
Social distancing violations
Last week, South Sudanese civil society activists criticized senior government officials for violating the presidential ban on public gatherings.
Since President Salva Kiir issued an order prohibiting all public gatherings countrywide late last month, some senior government officials have defiantly violated the directives.
These officials include the Inspector General of police – Gen. Majak Akech who was seen addressing mourners over the weekend in a suburban area of Juba.
Northern Corridor Morning Post also observed that while accompanying the remains of the late Gen. Kur Akol last week, the former speaker of Upper Nile State parliament, many people including lawmakers converged at Juba Airport, violating the social distancing directive.
Such violations according to Augustino Deng, a member of the Youth Led-Civil Society Coalition on Coronavirus should not be let go without accountability.
“The whole issue is our government officials need to respect the order of the president so that the local population takes it seriously and I think this (is) an issue the high-level taskforce should look into. The incident of the chief justice, it’s something which was publicly seen by people at the airport and up to now, we need to know the results of the quarantine of the chief justice and his sons” said Deng
For her part, the chairperson of the coalition Christine Kide questions the Presidency and the National Taskforce on Coronavirus for being silent on such violations.
“It is very worrying the person of his calibre to go and address a mourning gathering because, if the president issued an order that no gathering is allowed and at his capacity as the IGP who is supposed to enforce the law violets it, this is worrying.
“Why the president is also keeping quiet after such scenarios happened. If the police is expecting the citizens to act differently and they are acting in the opposite way, it doesn’t connect. They should know that they are not above the law” Kide stressed
Also, in another alleged violation of the order, Kur Ajiing, a businessman reportedly distributed food staff to hundreds of residents in Hai-Cinema where many people gathered last week.
Paul Mayom Akech -the minister of interior, had warned that anybody found to have violated the curfew and presidential ban on public gathering shall be arrested and prosecuted.
But members of the High-level Taskforce on Coronavirus have been spotted many times sitting close to each other during their meetings, violating WHOs social distancing directives.
In neighbouring Kenya, Kilifi County Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi has been arrested and put on forced 14-day isolation for defying quarantine orders.
This came after the leader refused to self-quarantine after a trip to Germany on March 1.
He went to attend staff and Cabinet meeting without putting himself under a 14-day quarantine, Daily Nation reports.