Updated: February 24, 2021
The Vice-President of South Sudan, Riek Machar, and his wife, who is Defense Minister, Angelina Teny, as well as some bodyguards and other staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Johns Hopkins University virus tracker reports that South Sudan has so recorded four deaths and 290 cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the deadly bug.
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Machar and his wife are among some of the high profile personalities who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are now in self-isolation.
South Sudanese authorities announced last week that the virus had reached a UN refugee camp in the capital, Juba, where some 30,000 people are housed.
The Agence France Press reported that a case has also been confirmed in a similar camp in northern Bentiu, home to almost 120,000.
Machar said a member of the COVID-19 task force tested positive for coronavirus last week, and he decided that everyone on the task force be tested.
“Many of our colleagues who have been found positive are in good health… from now onwards we shall be quarantining ourselves in the house,” Mr Machar said, according to reports.
The BBC noted that “Mr Machar formed a joint government with his political rival President Salva Kiir in February after years of conflict which has resulted in hundreds being killed and thousands being displaced. As part of the power-sharing deal, Mr Machar, is ranked first among four vice-presidents serving as deputy leaders to Mr Kiir. Apart from dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, South Sudan has also been named among countries most at risk of what the UN World Food Program (WFP) calls a “hunger pandemic”.