Hundreds of travelers criticized the South Sudan government for commercialized the COVID-19 certificate. South Sudanese nationals are told to pay 75 US dollars and foreign National charges 150 USD to obtain the certificates in two days.
Passengers said the new charging fee was introduced on Friday [December 4th] without the government’s advance notification.
Hundreds of travelers have stranded at the Dr. John Garang Infectious Diseases center this morning protested the move would make many people missed their flight.
The health doctors in the center shifted their operation to Cardinal Hospital adjusted to the main center.
Passengers looking for a COVID-19 certificate described the ministry of health decision as a “shocking change” that undermines the public interest. COVID-19 certificate was often issued by the ministry of health in partnership with the World Health Organization.
The government has started issuing free COVID-19 certificates to the public, including ordinary citizens and foreign nationals in the country, since the pandemic emerged in April 2020.
The policy has seen a challenging business that will affect the general public as the country facing economic hardship. People uttered severe disappointment to the government for making such changes so abrupt without advance communication.
Passenger Emmanuel John, who has been looking COVID-19 certificate for three days, was annoyed by the new government’s policy.
“You people do not take care of the citizens, and some people die from just Malaria, now by imposing this fee of 75 USD, do you think it is fair? I have been coming here for almost three weeks now. I cannot even succeed,”.
A foreign business lady who refused to be named said she has disagreed with the government COVID-19 charging fees because the payments presented are unaffordable cash beyond citizens’ daily income.
Mr. Bol Michael said the government decision left him without an option for his wife and daughter traveling to Kenya to get certificates. “I paid $150 for the certificates because I don’t want to double the lost for the tickets,” He said the health ministry decision was unacceptable because people could not afford the money.
“It is not good to surprisingly asks the public to pay money for something they didn’t expect. Yesterday, I registered my wife and my daughter. I brought them this morning for sample collection, but people were told to pay money in another center which was a shocked news. I paid $150 to get two certificates because I don’t want my family to miss their flight,” Bol said.
He further explained passengers were being informed that the new policy comes from COVID-19 national Task Forces. And this is an unfair decision because the people have no money to pay. Bol has spent one week looking for a certificate beyond the standard mandated days.
The Director of Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Dr. Richard Lako, said the Ministry of Health had contracted the private sector to test the travelers looking for COVID-19 certificates.
He claimed MECH Blue private clinic was tasked to run samples for travelers without the Ministry of Health’s influence.
Richard stated that the COVID-19 national Task Force made the decision.
“Travelers, we don’t test them. We have positive people; we need to follow them. We have contacts for these people we need to follow them, we have alerted the center affairs, we have been collecting the sample from the center affairs in the hospital those have been suspected of having COVID we tested them”.
In November, travelers slammed the government for the slow process of issuing pandemic approval certificates.