South Sudan's Riek Machar, wife test positive for coronavirus

'A number of his office staff and bodyguards' have also been infected, his office said in a Facebook post.

    The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in South Sudan in April [File: Samir Bol/Reuters]
    The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in South Sudan in April [File: Samir Bol/Reuters]

    Riek Machar, South Sudan's former rebel leader and its first vice president, has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

    Machar's wife, Minister of Defence Angelina Teny, and "a number of his office staff and bodyguards" have also been infected, according to a statement posted on Monday on the office's Facebook page and attributed to press secretary James Gatdek Dak.

    More:

    Machar "has issued a public statement declaring that he is found positive, and from today will self-quarantine in his residence for the next 14 days", it said.

    South Sudan, which is emerging from a devastating six-year civil war, has so far recorded 339 cases of COVID-19 and six deaths, according to the latest figures from the health ministry, also released on Monday.

    Though the number is relatively low, aid agencies are sounding the alarm over a sharp rise in cases in recent days.

    Cases among displaced

    Last week, officials announced two cases in a camp of about 30,000 displaced people who have been seeking United Nations protection in the capital Juba since 2013.

    A case has also been confirmed in a similar camp in northern Bentiu, home to almost 120,000 people.

    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.

    Can apps keep coronavirus in check?

    Inside Story

    Can apps keep coronavirus in check?

    SOURCE: News agencies