UN lauds South Sudan for opening borders to refugees from DRC amid COVID-19 pandemic

South Sudan

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Friday lauded South Sudan for opening its borders to hundreds of people displaced by recent violence from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) northern region despite the current movement restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNHCR said nearly 250 people from DRC have crossed into rural areas of South Sudan’s Western Equatoria region last week due to resurgence of violence in the region.

“UNHCR praises the Transitional Government of National Unity for the inclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and other persons of concern in the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan,” Adan Ilmi, UNHCR representative in South Sudan, said in a statement issued in Juba.

The refugee agency said it is the first reported official cross-border movement from a neighboring country since South Sudan’s borders were closed in late March 2020 in order to curb the spread of the disease.

The asylum seekers will undergo and complete a 14-day mandatory quarantine in a facility run by UNHCR as a preventive measure against the novel coronavirus.

South Sudan confirmed its first novel coronavirus case on April 5, and the number of cases has since risen to 120 with two recoveries.

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