Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: South Sudan to begin partial easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures from May 8. Business and transport disruptions likely.
This alert affects South Sudan
This alert began 08 May 2020 20:33 GMT and is scheduled to expire 28 May 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: From May 8
- Impact: Business and travel disruptions, heightened security
Authorities in South Sudan have begun easing some restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of May 8. Under the new directive, the government has shortened the nationwide nightly curfew by two hours; effective May 8, curfew hours are 2200-0600 rather than 2000-0600. Moreover, restaurants and bars may reopen during noncurfew hours, provided they strictly adhere to social distancing requirements; shops and stores may also reopen under the same requirements and must allow no more than five customers inside at a time. Boda boda (motorcycle) and rickshaw taxi transport services may resume; however, drivers and passengers must wear protective face masks. Authorities have also indicated that domestic land, air, and river transport will be restarting in the near future but have provided no specific time frame or other details.
The following earlier-imposed restrictions will remain in place:
- Indefinite suspension of international flights at Juba International Airport (JUB), except cargo flights for humanitarian and essential goods
- The closure of all schools, religious institutions, nonessential businesses, and a ban on social gatherings
- The closure of all land borders
COVID-19-related measures may be tightened or eased on short notice. Security personnel will likely deal quickly and forcefully with any curfew violators. Disruptions to supply chains and shortages of essential goods are possible.
Background and Analysis
The measures are similar to actions adopted by other governments in Africa and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.