South Sudan decries lack of genomic sequencing capacity as it battles COVID-19

South Sudan

South Sudan is struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19 amid challenges as it lacks capacity to undertake genomic sequencing that is crucial in the fight against the pandemic.

John Rumunu, acting incident manager for COVID-19 in the Ministry of Health, said Sunday they need a laboratory to enable them to carry out genomic sequencing in efforts to contain the Omicron variant that is fast spreading in the youngest nation.

“I appeal as the incident manager to our partners and also to our government to ensure that we have this capability in a shorter time,” he told journalists in Juba after the country recorded 61 new infections within the last 24 hours.

“We are not doing the testing here in the country, so we cannot test every sample to know the actual number of cases of Omicron in the country,” Rumunu said.

South Sudan has so far recorded 16,210 cases of COVID-19, including 12,934 recoveries and 136 deaths. Over 200,000 people have been fully vaccinated.

South Sudan has an estimated population of 12.2 million people. The vaccination campaign launched in April 2021 has been targeting mostly health care workers, the elderly and people with complicated illnesses.

Sacha Bootsman, the World Health Organization COVID-19 incident manager in South Sudan, said the country is way behind the set target despite having 68.9 percent of healthcare workers fully vaccinated. Enditem

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