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Riek Machar will not be evacuated, still in Juba



South Sudan’s first Vice President Riek Machar (L) greets with the Minister of Petroleum Puot Koang Chol (R) by contacting elbows due to the COVID-19 coronavirus concerns during the swearing-in ceremony of the Transitional Cabinet Ministers at the State House in Juba, South Sudan, on March 16, 2020. He later tested positive. PHOTO AFP

Juba, South Sudan | AFP | Press secretary James Gatdet Dak has denied reports that South Sudan’s first vice president, the former rebel leader Riek Machar, has been evacuated to the UK for treatment for COVID-19.

“They (Machar and wife) are currently in their residence in Juba where they have self-quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19 on 18 May, 2020,” said Gatdet. ” Both are also in good health and may soon resume their normal official activities after 14 days are over, and as advised by the doctors from the ministry of Health.”

Riek Machar early this week tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Machar’s wife, Defence Minister Angelina Teny, and “a number of his office staff and bodyguards” were also infected.

Machar “issued a public statement declaring that he is found positive, and will self-quarantine in his residence for the next 14 days,” the statement said on Monday.

The country continues to be gripped by humanitarian emergency and hunger, even after Machar and President Salva Kiir — the main rivals in the civil war — formed a unity government in February.

The two men remain deadlocked on key issues such as the control of regional states.

Until last week, Machar had been serving on a taskforce intended to combat the coronavirus.

But on Friday Kiir dissolved the taskforce, removing a number of politicians including Machar.

The statement Monday from Machar’s office said “a number” of other former members of the taskforce had also tested positive.

It said Machar was “healthy and with no symptoms.”

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