20 employees in South Sudan president's office contract Covid-19

Friday February 19 2021
Covid-19 test.

A health official takes a sample from a woman in Juba, South Sudan, for Covid-19 testing on April 14, 2020. PHOTO | ALEX McBRIDE | AFP

By Garang Malak


More than 20 junior and senior administrators in South Sudan’s Office of the President have contracted the Covid-19 and are under quarantine, Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny has confirmed.

Speaking to The EastAfrican on Friday, Ateny said those affected include cooks, drivers and bodyguards.

The number has increased. Many officials tested positive for Covid-19. There are a few junior staff that contracted the virus. Senior staff that tested positive for the virus include policy analyst Madut Majok and me. We are all healthy and quarantining as recommended by World Health Organization.

“The President didn’t contract Covid-19. He is healthy and he has been at work since the rumours emerged. However, the President has been working at home as a precautionary measure after many of us contracted the virus,” Ateny added.

Last week, Ateny confirmed to The EastAfrican that he and other three colleagues tested positive for coronavirus. 


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. That very week, Second Vice President James Wani Igga revealed that he had contracted the virus.

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. 

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

Last week, South Sudan recorded 193 cases, which brought its Covid-19 tally to 6,277 confirmed cases, 83 deaths and 3,829 recoveries since the outbreak.