There was a spike in the cases of COVID-19 in the country on April 28, from the six reported in a previous briefing to 34 after 28 more people tested positive for the virus, according to the report from South Sudan’s Health Ministry to the High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 pandemic. The East-Central African nation is yet to report any recoveries from the virus and no one has died of the virus.
In neighboring Sudan, 375 cases of COVID-19 have been reported including 28 deaths and 31 recoveries.
Bishop Yunan Tombe Trille of El Obeid diocese foresees a situation where the cases may increase owing to what he says is failure by the citizens to adhere to regulations set by the government to contain the spread of the virus.
Since mid-March, Sudan government declared a health state of emergency by closing its air space except for humanitarian urgency. It also closed down its land borders with neighboring countries.
And with the current lockdown in the country, Bishop Tombe Trille who doubles as President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference (SCBC) that brings together the Bishops of Sudan and South Sudan says people fear that they may die of hunger.
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Because of this fear, the Sudanese Prelate says, people have been disregarding the dusk-to-dawn curfew which was recently converted to total lockdown in the Northeast African country.
“The 6:00 p.m. to 6: 00 a.m. and now the total lockdown in Sudan can’t be respected by the citizens because of the harsh economic conditions they have to endure. Most of the people work daily to sustain their hand-to-mouth way of living and can’t afford the lockdown lifestyle,” he said.
Many people in Sudan are risking to rub shoulders with police and other security forces enforcing the COVID-19 restrictions in the country, according to the Sudanese Prelate.
Bishop Tombe Trille says the El Obeid Diocese has already put in place a committee of volunteers who are now seeking funds to provide support to the most vulnerable cases within the diocese.
“The Church leaders have a strong moral authority of teaching and urging the people to adhere to government directives to stop the spread of this virus. Besides, we have a committee of religious women and men, members of the faithful and vibrant youth to monitor our vulnerable members,” he says, adding, “The committee seeks funds from the faithful to help the neediest among them.”
The Bishop says that COVID-19 “has made the whole humanity vulnerable.”
“The strong ones in these difficult and strange times are those who turn to God for physical and spiritual strength in prayers,” he says.