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Yes, South Sudan first vice president Machar tested positive for Covid-19

Riek Machar Teny, first vice president of South Sudan, has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus disease, claims an article on the blog Nile Spear TV.

It says Angelina Teny, the country’s defence minister and Machar’s wife, has also tested positive, along with “a number of his office staff and bodyguards”.

The article was posted on Facebook on 19 May 2020, and flagged as possibly false by the social network’s fact-checking system. But it’s correct.

Covid-19 taskforce members also positive

On 18 May Machar announced on TV that he and his wife had tested positive for Covid-19. The news was reported by major media outlets across the world.

Machar had been the chairperson of South Sudan’s high-level taskforce on Covid-19, which was dissolved and replaced on 16 May. He announced that other members of the taskforce had also been found to have Covid-19, and a new team would be taking over their work.

As Nile Spear TV correctly reported, Machar was tested on 27 April. At that time, he did not have Covid-19. He and other members of the taskforce were tested again on 13 May after one of them had been found to have the disease.

According to Voice of America, Machar and his wife “are the first senior government officials in South Sudan who tested positive for Covid-19 and have come out to speak about their test results. Angelina Teny said she anticipated a positive test result after losing her sense of smell – a symptom linked to the coronavirus – about eight days ago.”

As of 18 May, South Sudan had reported 282 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with four deaths. – Keegan Leech


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