South Sudan mandates mass Covid-19 testing and vaccination.
South Sudan’s National Covid-19 Taskforce has directed the ministry of health to conduct obligatory Covid-19 mass testing and immunization throughout the country in order to ascertain the infection rate.
“At its 15th meeting on Wednesday 13th October, the national task force on the Covid-19 pandemic decided to conduct mass testing of both public and private institutions using fast diagnostic tests to ascertain the infection rate in the country. To conduct mass vaccination campaigns in all public and private institutions,” Dr. John Rumunu, South Sudan’s Director-General for Preventive Health Services and Acting COVID-19 Incident Manager, stated during a news conference on Sunday.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health encourages the public to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) such as obligatory facemask use, keeping social distance, providing sanitizers, frequently washing hands with soap, and avoiding crowded areas to prevent infection.
Dr. Rumunu said that a national taskforce audit committee would conduct periodic inspections of all institutions to verify compliance with the directive.
“The national taskforce’s audit committee must undertake regular compliance checks. As a result, all heads of public and private institutions are encouraged to promptly comply without hesitation with the ministry of health’s directive,” Dr. John Rumunu said.
Dr. Sacha Bootsman, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Covid-19 Incident Manager in South Sudan, said the WHO does not propose that the South Sudanese government mandate immunization for everyone in the country.
“With regards to WHO’s remarks on the National Taskforce on Covid-19 letter, this is a government decision, not a WHO decision. As a result, this is clearly something that we must adhere to. I can only state that the WHO does not advocate for forced testing or immunisation. However, this is a National Taskforce, not the WHO,” Dr. Sacha Bootsman said.
South Sudan has the lowest vaccination coverage at 0.3%, well below the WHO goal of 10% coverage for each African country by the end of September 2021.
Around 120,413 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccination have been given so far throughout South Sudan.
According to the WHO, about 2,782 individuals in 12 medical facilities in Western and Central Equatoria State received Johnson & Johnson vaccinations.
South Sudan reported 109 confirmed cases of covid-19 in the last week, increasing the cumulative total to 12,223 confirmed cases, including 11,726 recoveries.