South Sudan's government announced on Thursday, May 7, the easing of several restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), intended to begin on Sunday, May 10. Regional flights will resume, while markets, shops, bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen. However, schools, churches, mosques, and nightclubs will remain closed. Sports, funerals and other public gatherings will also remain suspended. The wearing of protective facemasks is mandatory in meetings, public places, and public transport. The nationwide curfew will commence three hours later at 22:00 until 06:00 (local time). Motorbike taxis and rickshaws will be allowed to operate, while buses and taxis are still only permitted to run at half capacity.
Separately, there are currently no routine commercial flights in to or out of South Sudan. All land borders are closed. South Sudan has suspended the issuing of visas at its embassies abroad.
To-date, there are 120 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, with no associated fatalities. Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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