South Sudan’s Machar, wife, three ministers recover from COVID-19

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South Sudan’s First Vice President Riek Machar, his wife Angelina Teny, the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, and three other ministers recovered from COVID-19, a government official said.

The spokesman for the country’s high-level task force on coronavirus Makur Matur Koriom said that the five were among 15 people who had recovered from the disease.

Machar, his wife and a number of his staff and bodyguards tested positive for COVID-19 after samples were tested on May 13. Machar spent the next two weeks in self-quarantine in his residence.

Days later, it was announced that 10 cabinet ministers tested positive for COVID-19 after coming into contact with a former member of the task force, which has since been reconstituted.

President Salva Kiir was subsequently prompted to dismiss speculation that he had been flown out of the country after being infected with the virus.

Koriom, who spoke on Sunday, also revealed that the country registered 67 new confirmed cases taking the nationwide tally to 1,604. Koriom also said that the death of four people raised the death total to 19.

The country’s Ministry of Health has also stopped issuing COVID-19 health certificates to people who test negative for the virus following revelations that there were fake ones widely in circulation.

South Sudan, which has one of the poorest health systems on the continent, has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. President Kiir lifted a number of restrictions put in place to control the spread of the virus despite the rise in the number of cases.

The South Sudan Doctors Union criticised the move saying it did not see the urgency in relaxing the rules and directives of the lockdown at a time when the country was is experiencing an exponential rise in cases.

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