Travelers slam public health on COVID-19 certificate delay

People queue to process COVID-19 certificate at Dr. John Gerang infectious disease unit, 05 Nov 2020

The South Sudanese citizens traveling outside of the country have accused the COVID-19 testing center of known Dr. John Gerang infectious disease unit in Juba of the slow process of issuing pandemic approve certificates.

The slow process has frustrated public travelers.  Many people were queueing up in the health center without social distancing to acquire COVID-19 certificates.

Both national and foreigners were concerned about the health risk. They said the process of getting a certificate perhaps took them an estimate of three days.

According to the national health prevention measures, all travelers going to foreign countries must be tested for COVD-19 before leaving the country. Getting a COVID-19 certificate is compulsory to accept domestic passengers.

Sarah Stephen is a Public health student studying in Kenya.

She said, “the process to get COVID-19 certificate is not transparent, only people with connection get their result without delay. For us, those who don’t know people in the system, what would you do? I feel so bad and so offended for being this in my country. You wait for your result while others are being favored because of their work statuses like from the UN or government.”

Stephen urges the government to make COVID-19 certificates accessible by establishing more medical centers to reduces overcrowding.

Sarah explained that people are not observing health measures; rules did not enforce to wash hands and keep social distancing.

” People are not practicing social distancing; there is no even place to water your hand; you can even move quickly without wearing a mask. Even if you come from home very safe, I am 100 percent sure you can get Corona here because of the way people handling themselves”

A South Sudanese national, Patrick Samuel, who wants to travel to Uganda, said he wakes up at 5 am to book the queue.

A South Sudanese national, Patrick Samuel who want to travel to Uganda said he wake up at 5AM to book the queue. He reported that staffs at health center start their work at 10:30 am while people came very early, queue up in the sun, no tea nor water to drink in order to get register.

He narrated, “Men, women and children are in the same place, no shelter for people to sit. There should be more centers like two or three to make it easy for public. You can be register and get test the same day instead of delaying the process. They [government] supposed to make shelter and put chairs so that people while waiting for health officials attending to them” 

Meanwhile, the chief operation Dr. Angelo Guop said his office has three-phase for the travelers. They first prioritize suspected people of having a virus; the second category affirmed cases of COVID-19 who are tested after 14 days. And the thirds are people who have come in to contact with people with confirmed cases. We make sure we try them.

“And the four-category travelers, the protocol says like this, if you are planning to travel, first you your result. Day one, you register, day two, your sample are collected, and day three, you get your results that are for the general public. And we have a VIP line. You know we have our big people that include government officials, ambassadors, UN heads of missions, and ministers. This one we handle them under VIP, they go through the same procedure and get their results.” Guop mentioned.

Dr. Angelo said the problem facing the health ministry. Travelers are violating health measures. He said that they have approved local face mask and installed hands washing facilities, but people bypass it. They don’t “maintaining social distancing. They put on a face mask and wash their hands.”

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