WHO seeks to scale up COVID-19 response in South Sudan

Photo taken on Jan. 22, 2020 shows an exterior view of the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO on Wednesday night extended to Thursday its emergency talks on whether the novel coronavirus outbreak in China constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). (Xinhua/Liu Qu)

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it has prepositioned medical supplies to help the ministry of health speed up testing of suspected COVID-19 cases in South Sudan.

Olu Olushayo, WHO Representative for South Sudan said Thursday the supplies are part of the national COVID-19 preparedness and response plan at 20 different locations including Juba to collect samples, package and transport for testing in Juba.

“WHO will work closely with the leadership of the Ministry of Health and partners to ensure a coordinated and impactful response to fight the coronavirus pandemic,” said Olushayo in a statement issued in Juba.

He said the supplies are vital for testing suspected cases who meet Influenza-like illness or severe acute respiratory illness case definition, patients with unusual pneumonia, travelers crossing the border from areas with community transmission of COVID-19, contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases who are symptomatic, and cases that meet the definition of the virus.

A total of 267 individuals have been tested for COVID-19 of which four confirmed cases are under follow up as of Tuesday.

WHO said the supplies delivered include 590 viral transport medium and personal protective equipment for sample collection from Aweil, Wau, Kuajok, Abyei, Rumbek, Yirol, Bentiu, Malakal, Maban, Renk, Bor, Torit, Kapoeta, Nimule, Yei, Kajokeji, Yambio, Tambura, Maridi and Juba, where suspected cases have been reported and followed up.

“It is extremely important to scale up our response efforts to save lives and leave no one behind,” Olushayo said.

In a bid to curb the spread of the virus, the country’s ministry of health has imposed a number of preventive measures among them, a ban on social gatherings, closure of businesses, cancellation of domestic and international flights and closure of all land borders, among others. Enditem

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