Juba, South Sudan,
June 20, 2021 – Nine members of the South Sudan national football team Bright Stars have tested positive for coronavirus, the South Sudan Football Association announced Sunday.
The national football governing body says the players, together with one member of the technical staff were in isolation.
“At least nine of the Bright Star’s players & 1 technical staff were tested positive & immediately isolated as per the precautionary measures applied,” the Association tweeted.
It says six other players who have been in contact with those infected have been placed under surveillance.
South Sudan takes on Jordan on Monday in the Arab FIFA Cup preliminary fixture. The infection deals a huge blow for a team whose performance has greatly improved in recent months.
The country is not under lockdown despite recording over 10,000 cases of the infection since the onset of the pandemic.
However, experts say the number could be an undercount and could be far more considering the weak testing capacity of the country.
In May, the government downsized the coronavirus rapid response team on the grounds of underfunding which made it difficult to pay frontline workers.
South Sudan also boasts the lowest testing percentage in the region with less than 1 million people vaccinated in a population of 13 million.
A development that astonished the world, South Sudan returned over 70,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine citing the inability to administer it before the expiry date, which was in July.