JUBA — A UN staff member based in South Sudan, who was in isolation after it was believed he may have come into contact with a COVID-19 patient, has fled the country.
South Sudan has confirmed four coronavirus cases so far, and has put several measures in place, one of which called for quarantining and testing of all contacts of those who have tested positive.
The United Nations traced 99 close contacts, and expected them to be quarantined and tested over the next two weeks.
In a statement on Sunday, the United Nations said it would take disciplinary action against the staff member who failed to complete self-isolation and left South Sudan without authorization.
The United Nations explained that the staff member was in isolation after it was believed he may have come into contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
It added, “He received one test that confirmed him as negative and then left Juba on a flight without the knowledge of the United Nations. The flight was commercial, not a United Nations flight.”
The UN mission pointed out that it is continuing to strictly follow the health protocols relating to COVID-19 and is working cooperatively through the World Health Organization with the Ministry of Health.
Any United Nations staff who fail to adhere to the requirements for testing and self-isolation will face disciplinary action, according to the statement.
For his part, Dr. Makur Koryom, the undersecretary in the South Sudan Ministry of Health, said one of the 99 contacts left South Sudan on a UN flight.
Makur, who is also a member of the high level taskforce on COVID-19, said the South Sudanese government was not aware of what had happened.
He further said the high level taskforce condemns the act in strongest terms possible, and holds the UN system in the country accountable for any unseemly events that may ensue.
“This is in clear violation of the International Health Regulations (HR 2005),” Koryom said.