South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar and his wife Angelina Teny, who is the defence minister have both tested positive for COVID-19.
The announcement was made on Monday by Dr Machar who said that he and his wife had contracted the virus after interacting with infected members of the High-Level Taskforce on Covid-19, a team drafted to help fight the pandemic.
This was confirmed in a statement released on Monday May 18 by his office. It was further revealed that “a number of his office staff and bodyguards” had also tested positive for COVID-19.
“We are still awaiting other tests and hopefully tomorrow we will have the full list (of positive cases among the Taskforce),” Dr Machar told a televised news conference in Juba on Monday. “All our colleagues that have tested positive are in good health.”
He added that he and his wife will quarantine in their home.
“A doctor may be visiting us until they tell us it is time to end the quarantine. All our colleagues will also be self-quarantining,” Dr Machar said.
South Sudan was the last East African Community member state to report a Covid-19 case when a UN staffer reporting to duty from abroad tested positive in April. The cases have since risen to 347 and six deaths. No recoveries have been reported.
Strained by a seven-year civil war, South Sudan has one of the poorest health systems.