May 23, 2020 (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia): The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the IGAD region in different ways. From public health emergencies, societal challenges and significant disruption of the economy, the pandemic has presented unique sets of challenges on an unprecedented scale. On the other hand, the pandemic has brought out the resilience of our IGAD Member States as demonstrated in their collective and concerted efforts in fighting the spread of COVID-19.

The news of members of the South Sudan High-Level Task Force on COVID-19 having tested positive for the coronavirus has been both disheartening and saddening. Our thoughts are with them and their families. We pray for their quick recovery in regaining their health and wish them well.

These are indeed difficult times globally in the face of the pandemic. Everyone has a role to play in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. We shall continue to follow the Guidelines issued by the IGAD COVID-19 Taskforce, our respective National Authorities and WHO. These include maintaining social distance, regularly cleaning our hands with soap or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer wearing face masks, seeking guidance from a healthcare worker on having symptoms such as fever, dry cough and difficulty in breathing and regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

We also note the killing of a humanitarian worker in the course of duty, and we condemn such acts of violence that caused the death of a front-line humanitarian worker. We express our deepest sympathy to family members and friends of the deceased colleague. At this crucial time, we must ensure that all forms of violence are brought to an end, including inter-communal violence, so that populations can have access to safe, unhindered, and inclusive health care. Front-line health workers must be adequately protected.

More than ever, IGAD will continue to support the peace process in the Republic of South Sudan and also call on the International Community, the UN, TRIOKA for their continued support. Together we will overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.


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