AA 09 APR 2020
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday urged South Sudan to take immediate action to curb the spread of COVID-19. If coronavirus takes hold it could be particularly devastating to communities already suffering from years of war and violence, it said in a statement.
“COVID-19 is a serious threat, and one that we are committed to helping South Sudanese overcome,” Sandra Banks, health adviser to South Sudan Red Cross, was quoted as saying.
“It is critically important that every person in South Sudan has information on what COVID-19 is, how it is spread, and what measures they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“The East African country reported the country’s first virus case last Sunday. So far, only two people have tested positive with no deaths or recoveries, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. Ana Lucia Bueno, the health coordinator for the ICRC in South Sudan, said COVID-19 cases escalate quickly as seen around the world.
“We need to act fast and take preventive measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 before it overwhelms the country’s healthcare systems,” Bueno said.
“With many of the clinics and hospitals in the country degraded by years of war and underinvestment, every healthcare facility is precious.
They must be protected.” The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, meanwhile, has donated $100,000 to South Sudan to combat the virus.
The country, just out of a decades-long civil war, has been left to combat the pandemic with a nascent health infrastructure.
After originating in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions across the world, with its epicenter shifting to Europe, while China has largely come out of the crisis.
The virus infected nearly 1.5 million people worldwide, while some 336,000 people recovered from the disease, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. Over 89,400 have died.
Despite the rising number of cases, most people who get infected suffer only mild symptoms and make a recovery.