JUBA – South Sudan presidency on Saturday denied in a statement that presidential affairs minister Nhial Deng Nhial has contracted the coronavirus disease, but yet refused to name three other senior presidency officials it said have contracted the virus along with President Salva Kiir’s press secretary Ateny Wek Ateny.
“The Media Department in the Office of the President has learned of a false news article trending on social media published by Sudan[s] Post website on 12th February 2021 which states that, ‘the Minister of Presidential Affairs Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, Executive Director in the Office of the President Hon. James Deng Wal along with unnamed SSBC journalist attached to the Office of the President have tested positive for coronavirus’,” teh presidency said in the statement posted on its Facebook page.
Earlier on Thursday evening, a senior presidency official told Sudans Post that minister Nhial had tested positive for COVID-19 along with Kiir’s press secretary, the executive director in the office of the president and a journalist working for South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) in the office of the president.
The presidency statement blatantly denied the reported contraction of COVID-19 by the senior government official, but could not yet name in the statement three other officials it said in the statement have tested positive for the virus along with the sole known victim, Ateny Wek.
“This Press statement is to clarify that this news article published by Sudan[s] Post website on 12th February 2021 is untrue and totally unfounded. The Minister of Presidential Affairs Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, Executive Director in the Office of the President Hon. James Deng Wal tested for Covid-19 and their results came out negative on February 11th ,2021,” the presidency statement continued.
“Only COVID-19 results of the Press Secretary in the Office of the President Ateny Wek Ateny and 3 Junior staffs came out positive in the entire Office of the President. In addition, No SSBC Journalist in the Office of the President tested Positive of Coronavirus,” it added.