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South Sudan on a lockdown over coronavirus fears

Tuesday March 24 2020
airport

Juba International Airport. South Sudan has opened airports across the country and announced the resumption of both domestic and international flights. PHOTO | AKUOT CHOL | AFP

By GARANG A. MALAK

South Sudan’s Ministry of Health has announced a lock-down on country’s borders with ban on international flights as part of preventive measure against the deadly coronavirus effective Tuesday morning.

The undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr Makur Kariom said the decision was reached by a high-level committee on Monday evening which resolved to ban all international flights but with few exemptions.

“Closure of Juba International Airport and all other airports in the country with the face of all international flights. And therefore all international flights descend to end from South Sudan are advised to cease all their operations by mid-night on Monday 23rd March 2020. Closure of all borders crossing in the face of all passengers’ buses.”

Only cargo buses and food trucks and fuel tanks will be allowed.

“However, the following operations will be exempted; food cargo flights, aircrafts in the state of emergency, flights passing through South Sudan’s air space to destinations further appeal, humanitarian aid operations including medical and relief flights, and technical lading provided that passengers don’t embark,” said Makur.

In addition, the archbishop of the Episcopal church of South Sudan on Monday also asked Christians to be praying at home after the President banned all religious gatherings.

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“On Sundays all Christians should remain at home and pray from home with their own families until we get directive from the government that it is safe to congregate again,” Bishop Justine Badi Arama.

South Sudan has not reported any case of the coronavirus pandemic.

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