JUBA – South Sudan government has said that it has suspended weekly cabinet meetings over latest surge in coronavirus cases, days after the country’s coronavirus taskforce announced in a statement that it was imposing a month-long lockdown, once again, in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus amid fears of new variants of the deadly virus.
Last week, the government imposed a month-long partial lockdown across the country saying the deadly virus’ second wave has begun warning violators of the newly-imposed measures of tougher measures that could lead to a jail sentences and expensive fines.
In a letter addressed to the ministers on Wednesday, cabinet minister Martin Elia Lomoro said no meetings of the cabinet are allowed – effective February 5 – for one month, but then said extra-ordinary cabinet meeting maybe called upon under unclear certain circumstances by the presidency.
“This is to inform your Excellencies and Honourable Colleagues that in view of the surge in Covid-19 infection rates in the country the regular weekly meetings of the Council of Ministers have been put on hold for a month starting form tomorrow, Friday, 5 February 2021, in accordance with the advice of the National Taskforce on Covid-19 which was endorsed by HE President of the Republic and communicated to me by the Minister for Presidential Affairs vide his letter dated 3/2/2021,” Lomoro said.
“Under specific conditions, an extraordinary meeting may be called by H.E. President of the Republic,” he added.
Before the imposition of the latest lockdown, President Kiir approved a demand by the SPLM-IO to let its leader and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny to visit opposition forces, but then issued another update imposing the coronavirus lockdown which opposition officials and supporters have termed as a political ploy to delay planned Machar visits to various opposition bases across the nation.
Duk Majokdit, a member of the SPLM-IO National Liberation Council told Sudans Post last week that the main armed opposition group welcomes the decision by the presidency to allow Machar to visit his forces, but were surprised to see another lock down being imposed in a move he said is meant to jeopardize the plans by Machar to visit forces in several locations across the country.
“Unfortunately the Vice President for Services Cluster announced another Lockdown in the Country for one Month,” Dut said, adding “it is a politically motivated move to prevent Comrade Chairman Dr. Riek Machar from visiting SPLM-IO controlled areas this dry season which is all mischief and should not work at all.”