Warnings of ‘Catastrophic Consequences’ as COVID-19 Hits IDP Camps in South Sudan

Warnings of ‘Catastrophic Consequences’ as COVID-19 Hits IDP Camps in South Sudan
A United Nations camp for internally displaced people in Wau, South Sudan, May 14, 2017 (AP photo).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

COVID-19 has reached a camp for internally displaced people outside South Sudan’s capital, Juba, raising alarm that the virus could spread quickly among the thousands living there in crowded conditions. The positive diagnosis of two COVID-19 patients this week is a worst-case scenario for health experts in South Sudan, who warn that sick patients could quickly overwhelm the camp, which has few supplies or health facilities.

The country’s already limited health infrastructure was gutted during its recent civil war; there aren’t even many hospital beds outside the capital. Because of the country’s fraught political dynamics—a long-stalled peace deal held up several attempts at forming a unity government, until earlier this year—officials have little option but to keep residents in the camp, despite the risks of contagion.

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