David Shearer in South Sudan. Photo credit: File

Former Labour leader David Shearer says the health situation in South Sudan is "pretty dire" with fears tens of thousands of people could die of COVID-19.

Shearer left politics in New Zealand in 2017, heading to the UN mission in South Sudan[1] - a country ravaged by civil war and drought in recent years.

While the African nation has no recorded cases of COVID-19 to date, Shearer told Newshub Nation on Saturday only about 38 tests have been undertaken.

"Almost inevitably, I think that COVID-19 is here but we just don't know it yet," Shearer said.

"This health situation here is pretty dire. I mean, 90 percent of the health facilities here are run by international organisations just to keep things going."

Shearer said the nation's infectious disease hospital has about 35 beds, with about 10 ventilators. South Sudan has a population of 12 million.

The real fear is for people in camps, Shearer said. The UN is looking after 200,000 people in various camps and is urging them to social-distance as much as possible.


  1. ^ heading to the UN mission in South Sudan (


Please login to comment
  • No comments found