The Republic of South Sudan reported its first case of COVID-19 on April 4, 2020. The pandemic is progressing, and the first Vice President tested positive for coronavirus along with some other high-ranked government officials but recovered eventually. The government announced various precautionary measures, including (i) international flight suspension (with few exceptions for planes bringing in health-related cargo, such as medicine and medical equipment, and essential/critical food items; (ii) land border restrictions; (iii) passenger bus prohibitions; (iv) evening curfews; (v) social distancing; and (vi) a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for any traveler arriving from a virus-affected country. The government also encouraged businesses to allow their employees to telework and warned the business community against increasing prices and hoarding essential goods and commodities.
Reopening of the economy. Lockdown measures were first partially lifted on May 7, 2020. More recently, the Council of Ministers instructed the Ministry of Education to reopen schools and higher learning institutions in an announcement made on September 18, 2020. International flights and cross-border travel by buses resumed on October 1, 2020. 10-pm curfews and other public health measures including social distancing, handwashing and face covering are still in place.
On February 3, 2021, due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, the following precautionary measures are put in place: i) ban of all social gatherings including sport and religious events, ii) school closures, iii) private and public sectors to allow work from home, iv) closure of businesses that attract crowds such as bars, clubs, and casinos, v) limit the load of bus and taxi to half capacity, vi) mandatory COVID-19 tests for incoming flight passengers, vii) mandatory use of mask, and vii) various social distancing measures.
- Is a curfew in place? No
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No – but reducing movements other than essential travel is encouraged.
- Are commercial flights operating? YesI
- A number of carriers have resumed flights to and from Juba, including Ethiopian Airlines, Kenyan Airways, Ugandan Airways and Fly Dubai. You should check with airlines to confirm frequency and any transit requirements.
- Is public transportation operating? Yes
- Facesmasks are required to be worn on public transportation.
Key Policy Responses as of June 3, 2021
The government has allocated a COVID-19 fund of USD8.0 million, of which USD5.0 million was allocated to the Ministry of Health to combat the pandemic. The government has also redirected the USD7.6 million grant from the World Bank to UNICEF and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the third-party agencies implementing the grant. The grant was used to purchase items for COVID-19 prevention and treatment.
MONETARY AND MACRO-FINANCIAL
On April 24, 2020, the Bank of South Sudan (BSS) cut the Central Bank Rate by 2 percentage points, from 15 percent to 13 percent, and reduced the Reserve Requirement Ratio from 20 percent to 18 percent.
On July 7, 2020, the BSS introduced additional measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. It further cut the Central Bank Rate by 3 percentage points, down to 10 percent, further reduced the Reserve Requirement Ratio to 10 percent, and suspended the recent regulation of higher minimum paid-up capital for commercial banks. BSS also reiterated that the South Sudanese Pound (SSP) is the only legal tender of domestic debt payments and encouraged banks to restructure loans if needed. (Circular No. SDR/S/4/2020).
On November 6, 2020, the BSS increased the Central Bank Rate to 15 percent and the Reserve Requirement Ratio to 20 percent, fully reverting the earlier monetary policy loosening in response to the pandemic.
Civic Freedom Tracker
The Minister of Interior's order institutes a daily curfew between 8pm and 6am. Persons providing essential services are exempt from the curfew but are required to carry special permits.
Date Introduced: 25 Mar 2020