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Health official threatens another lockdown over laxity on COVID-19

Photo shows John Rumunu, Director General for Preventive Health Services in MOH.

By Simon Deng

A senior health official in the Ministry of Health (MOH) has warned that the transitional unity government may be compelled to lock down the country again, due to public laxity in observing health preventive guidelines against COVID-19.

John Rumunu, Director General for Preventive Health Services who also dabbles as the Acting Incident Manager for COVID-19 at the National Taskforces (NTF) said that may be forced to return the country to another partial lockdown following rising COVID-19 infections within the last few days.

“Currently the NTF does not recommend any form of lockdown in the country, so as to avoid the negative financial implications this may have on the national economy as well as on individual livelihoods,” Rumunu told journalists in Juba over the weekend. 

“However, if adherence to public health measures does not improve while potential increase in COVID-19 cases is observed, the NTF may consider lockdown as a necessary measure to stop further spread of the disease,” he disclosed.

Rumunu urged the public to adhere to health preventive guidelines such as wearing of face masks, especially in public places like shops, markets, offices, and in public transport vehicles. 

In addition, he recommended physical distance of a minimum one meter between individuals in public places.

On Friday, the NTF headed by Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, the Vice President for Services Cluster issued updated public noticerestricting social gatherings like weddings, funeral and massgatherings to observe venue capacity of 50 percent.

Emmanuel Majur Andrea, Deputy Director for Health Educationsaid that with support from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)and World Health Organization (WHO) have expanded health awareness on COVID-19 across the country.

“We have the more aggressive Delta variant in the country, wehave decided to expand our health education and promotion to various locations. We have been working closely with Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) over the last two weeks,” said Andrea.

Andrea added that they have so far organized 48 meetings including with teachers and drivers to ensure vaccine uptake is given a priority.

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