UN freezes troops travel to South Sudan over coronavirus

The UNPOL and Military components of the UNMISS conduct a sweep for weapons and contraband in the Protection of Civilian site 3 neighboring the UN base, Jebel area, Juba

March 23, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) — The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said on Monday that it was putting a seven-day freeze on staff travelling to South Sudan as part of the mission’s support to the country’s efforts to prevent the novel coronavirus also known as COVID-19.

The mission said in a statement seen by Nyamilepedia on Monday that the decision “will apply to all personnel except those who are critical to continuing UNMISS operations.”

The decision which comes into effect on Tuesday mid-night will see cargo flights exempted, it added.

It further said the world mission to the country will “continue to respond proactively and rapidly to support South Sudan government efforts.”

“Rotations of military peacekeepers were stopped on 4 March 2020 – well before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – and all upcoming rotations have been put on hold.

“Individual staff that have arrived more recently have been put into quarantine for 14 days and monitored regularly. Flights for UNMISS staff moving between different field locations within South Sudan have been limited to essential movements only.

“UNMISS peacekeepers are doing a very important job. Many people’s lives depend on us and the Mission is committed to maintaining its activities to protect civilians and build durable peace to the best of its ability given the challenges posed by COVID-19.

“UNMISS will continue to respond proactively and rapidly to support South Sudan government efforts, while protecting its own personnel and the people that we are here to serve.”

South Sudan is one of the few countries around the world with no confirmed cases of the virus which began from the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year.

A number of suspected cases in the country’s capital Juba and some states have tested negative for the novel coronavirus also known as COVID-19.

South Sudan’s neighbors, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia, have all confirmed cases of the virus.

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