S.Sudan eases coronavirus measures although cases rise - International | NTV

S.Sudan eases coronavirus measures although cases rise

By AFP

Friday May 8, 2020

Airport staff members disinfect Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan on April 3, 2020 (AFP Pictures) 

South Sudan on Thursday announced the easing of restrictions to combat the coronavirus, including re-opening bars and restaurants and shortening a curfew, even as cases continue to rise.


South Sudan confirmed 16 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 90 in the country -- up from a total of six cases at the beginning of last week.


President Salva Kiir took the decision which will be effective "in 72 hours", according to Richard Laku, a member of the country's task force on the virus.


The measures include re-opening internal travel by air, land and river and allowing regional flights back to South Sudan, Laku said. Markets, shops, bars and restaurants will also be allowed to re-open.


Schools, mosques, churches and night clubs will remain shut, while sports activities and other public gatherings remain banned.


The curfew which had been from 7pm to 6am has been shortened to start only at 10pm.


The task force decided to maintain other measures such as requiring all travellers coming to and exiting South Sudan to present a certificate proving they are free of the virus.


It is unclear how this will work in practice given limited testing capacity and inconclusive evidence on immunity to the disease.


Motorbike taxis and rickshaws will once again be allowed to operate, while passenger buses and taxis are still only allowed to operate at half-capacity.


Laku said masks were mandatory in meetings, public places, and public transport.


South Sudan put in place the strict measures at the end of March, before it had registered a single case.


Rwanda, Uganda and Mauritius are among the countries in the region where measures have been relaxed, after they appeared to have flattened the curve of new cases.