South Sudan's Fifth Vice President tests positive for Covid-19

Monday March 22 2021
Covid test in Juba

A member of South Sudanese Ministry of Health's Rapid Response Team puts on gloves before taking a man's sample for a Covid-19 test in Juba on April 13, 2020. PHOTO | AFP

By Garang Malak

South Sudan's Fifth Vice President has contracted the novel coronavirus, her press office has confirmed.

In a Facebook post seen by The EastAfrican on Friday, Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior, who is also in charge of the Gender and Youth cluster in the unity government, said she decided to get tested after exhibiting symptoms.

“She is in good spirits. All necessary precautions are being taken to protect her health and that of the people around her. The symptoms are currently mild. However, the Vice President will self-isolate for two weeks while her condition is closely monitored,” the press office said.

The VP, who is currently abroad, urged South Sudanese to remain vigilant in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from the deadly disease.

Other top officials

Ms Nyandeng is the last South Sudanese Vice President to contract Covid-19.


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, became the first top government officials to publicly admit they had tested positive.

Weeks after his appointment, the chairman of the National Committee on Covid-19 and Fourth 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.

Days after joining the unity government last year, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth announced that he tested positive for Covid-19. 

That very week, the former minister for National Security, Dr Majak Agoot, also confirmed that he had gotten infected.

In December last year, former South Sudanese Ambassador to Russia and former Presidential Legal Advisor, Telar Ring Deng, died at an Aspen medical facility days after declaring on social media that he was sick with the virus.

Office of the President

In February, more than 20 junior and senior administrators in South Sudan’s Office of the President contracted the virus.

They included Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny and President Salva Kiir’s policy analyst Madut Majok.

Last month, the Under Secretary at the Ministry of East African Affairs, Mou Mou Athian, succumbed to the virus.

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

The body recently extended the lockdown for a month but the cases have continued to increase.

On Friday, South Sudan recorded 40 new infections, which raised its total number of confirmed cases to 9,489, including 106 deaths and 8,215 recoveries.