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S. Sudan halts flights with COVID-19-affected countries

South Sudan under high risk of importing coronavirus due to travel, trade, social linkages, says health ministry official

Benjamin Takpiny   | 13.03.2020
S. Sudan halts flights with COVID-19-affected countries Dr. Makur Matur koriom, south Sudanese health ministry undersecretary ( Anadolu Agency )

JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan on Friday suspended direct flights with countries affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Juba halted direct flights to and from several countries including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) to prevent the virus from entering the country with immediate effect, Health Ministry Undersecretary Makur Matur Koriom announced.

Koriom said the country remains under high risk of being affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic due to travel, trade and social linkages with countries where the virus is present as it maintains an open-border policy.

"In order to reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health is undertaking vigilant screening at Juba Airport, border crossings in Nimule, Wau, Yambio and other points of entry," Koriom told reporters at a press conference in the capital Juba.

He also said international events slated to take place in South Sudan had been postponed and that organizers planning to hold social gatherings should seek clearance from the Ministry of Health.

There are currently no confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Sudan, Koriom said adding that health officials had investigated three possible cases, all of which tested negative for the virus.

Affected routes include China, Iran, Italy, the U.S., Egypt, the U.A.E., South Korea, Japan, Tunisia, Algeria, Togo, among other affected regions.

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