Senior South Sudan officials test positive for Covid-19

Thursday February 11 2021
Covid-19 test.

Lab technicians test samples for Covid-19 in a laboratory in Juba, South Sudan on April 6, 2020. Four senior officials working in South Sudan’s Office of the President have tested positive for coronavirus. PHOTO | AFP

By Garang Malak

Four senior officials working in South Sudan’s Office of the President have tested positive for coronavirus. 

Speaking to The EastAfrican on Thursday, Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny said he and three other senior officials had tested positive.

“We went with a number of staff from the Office of the President, as we made Covid-19 testing mandatory. After testing, I and the other three staff tested positively. Currently, I am under a 14-day quarantine as recommended by the World Health Organization. 

“I have been clear from day one that coronavirus is a real threat. And if you are positive and your immune system managed to beat it, then don’t mislead others that the virus isn’t there. I advise people to wear masks, adhere to social distance and other preventive measures,” said Ateny. 

In May last year, South Sudan’s First Vice President Dr Riek Machar and his wife Angelina Teny, the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, were the first top government officials to publicly admit that they had contracted Covid-19.

Days after their announcement, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth and former minister for National Security, Dr Majak Agoot, also confirmed they had contracted the virus. 


Weeks after his appointment, the chairman of the National Committee on Covid-19 and fifth Vice President, Hussein Abdelbagi, confirmed that he too had also tested positive.

In December last year, former South Sudan Ambassador to Russia and former Presidential Legal Advisor, Telar Ring Deng, passed on at an Aspen medical facility days after declaring on social media that he had tested positive for Covid-19. 

Last week, the South Sudan National Taskforce on Covid-19 reintroduced a partial lockdown amid a surge of cases across the country.

On Wednesday alone, South Sudan recorded two new coronavirus deaths and 156 confirmed cases, the highest figures since the year started.