International

Ten South Sudan ministers test positive for virus

Information Minister Michael Makuei says his colleagues are in self-isolation

Ten ministers in South Sudan are now confirmed to have contracted coronavirus.

Information Minister Michael Makuei has told the BBC that all former members of the high-level task force on coronavirus – apart from the health minister – have tested positive for Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

But he has denied reports that President Salva Kiir – who was also a member of the team – had also tested positive.

It comes just days after first Vice-President Riek Machar announced he had tested positive alongside his wife, Defence Minister Angelina Teny.

They tested positive after coming into contact with a former member of the team, who has Covid-19.

All the ministers infected are now in self-isolation and the government says they are in good health.

Dozens of bodyguards and staff of the officials also tested positive and are quarantined.

South Sudan has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in recent days with 481 confirmed cases and six deaths.

There are fears the virus could cause havoc in South Sudan, whose healthcare system is barely functioning following decades of conflict, while hundreds of thousands are living in camps for displaced people.