South Sudan’s first vice president, and former rebel leader Riek Machar, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, his office said Monday.
Machar’s wife, Defence Minister Angelina Teny, and “a number of his office staff and bodyguards” have also been infected, according to a statement posted on the office’s Facebook page and attributed to press secretary James Gatdek Dak.
Machar “has issued a public statement declaring that he is found positive, and will self-quarantine in his residence for the next 14 days,” the statement said.
South Sudan, which is emerging from a devastating six-year civil war, has so far recorded 339 cases of COVID-19 and six deaths, according to the latest figures from the health ministry, also released on Monday. Although relatively low, only 3,908 tests have been conducted.
— Wani Michael ?? (WaniMichael57) April 7, 2020
nbstvThis was the official communication from the Presidency read out by FVP Dr. Riek Machar on Sunday April 5, 2020. Where did you get your source of information of 3 Covid-19 cases in South Sudan? #SSOT SolomonSerwanjj
Last week, officials announced the virus had reached a camp of some 30,000 displaced people who have been seeking United Nations protection in the capital Juba since 2013.
A case has also been confirmed in a similar camp in northern Bentiu, home to almost 120,000 people.
The country continues to be gripped by humanitarian emergency and hunger, even after Machar and President Salva Kiir, the main rivals in the civil war formed a unity government in February.
The two men remain deadlocked on key issues such as the control of regional states.