Latest update - 25 March 2020
There are still no reported cases of the new strain of coronavirus in South Sudan.
The country has now followed Kenya, the UK and other countries in closing all schools for 30 days in an effort to delay and manage the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Parents began arriving at IGBS over the weekend to collect their daughters, after hearing the announcement on the radio, and all girls are expected to have returned home by tomorrow (26 March). A skeleton staff will remain in school, including Head Teacher Mrs Vicky Ajidiru. IGBS students all learn and practise high standards of personal hygiene, including hand-washing, and will be able to explain the need for similar anti-Covid-19 precautions and routines with their families, siblings and local communities.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by this pandemic, and in particular those in education whose lives have changed radically in a few short days.
Update from 18 March 2020
So far there are no reported cases of the new strain of coronavirus in South Sudan. The Ministry of Health has procured the necessary lab reagents to test for the virus, and three possible cases tested negative. Flights from Egypt and the UAE have been suspended, and travellers are being screened at entry points into the country and will be quarantined if necessary. South Sudan is no stranger to such crises, given the recent outbreak of Ebola in neighbouring Congo, but its healthcare facilities remain very under-funded and ill-equipped to deal with an outbreak of a highly contagious disease.
A FIGS team of volunteers who travelled to Ibba Girls’ Boarding School before any restrictions were imposed and who were screened on arrival in Juba will be leaving Ibba tomorrow (Thursday, 19 March) and returning to the UK. FIGS is reviewing its policy regarding visits to the school, and is following health and travel advice from the NHS, Foreign Office and South Sudanese ministries. No volunteers or staff will visit the school within two weeks of visiting any of the countries at risk as identified by the South Sudanese authorities.
Regular hand-washing is already an embedded practice at Ibba Girls’ School, and local culture prioritises hand-washing before sharing a meal. The school continues to remind students and staff of the importance of personal hygiene and sanitation, and further measures will be discussed at the Governors’ meeting on Saturday 21 March.