JUBA, 18 March 2021 – South Sudanese Vice-President Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior has tested positive for the new coronavirus.
“I am feeling well now. My oxygen level is good. It is just the cough and the sore throat,” Nyandeng told Radio Tamazuj in an interview Thursday, as she confirmed that she had contracted the virus.
Vice-President Nyandeng, who is the widow of the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior, said she is self-isolating and monitoring her health condition from her home in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
She enjoined South Sudanese citizens to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 guidelines to curb the spread of the pandemic in the country.
“People have to know that this disease is a killer disease, and it has come to stay with us. We need to know how to live with it by adhering to the Covid-19 protocols like wearing a facemask,” Nyandeng said in the interview.
“When you have symptoms of cough and flu, the first thing you should do is to test COVID-19, don’t rush to test malaria first”.
“I think she got the disease from there in Nairobi because when she left South Sudan she was fine,” said Chat Paul Nul, the executive director in Nyandeng’s office, adding: “She is currently at home and in a very stable condition, so there is no need to worry at all.”
With responsibility for the gender and youth cluster, Nyandeng is the latest high-profile figure in South Sudan to test positive for COVID-19.
Last February, more than 20 employees in the office of the South Sudanese president tested positive for the virus, prompting the Presidency to issue a statement debunking rumors that President Salva Kiir himself may have tested positive.
As of Thursday, South Sudan has recorded a total of 9768 COVID-19 cases with 106 fatalities since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country on 5 April 2020, according to data from the country’s ministry of health.
Last March 3, South Sudan’s National Taskforce on COVID-19 extended until next April 3 the national partial lockdown which bans public gatherings, limits crowds at weddings and funerals to no more than 50 people, and enforces a nighttime curfew.