South Sudan announced that it would scale up its monitoring of the Ebola virus after an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever was reported in recent months in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
A simulation exercise slated for Aug. 16 is to be carried out in the capital Juba as well as in the border towns of Nimule and Yei, according to the health ministry.
“The exercise will test and validate capabilities for early detection, rapid response, and effective coordination at national, state and community levels, in view of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the DRC,” Richard Lako Lino, incident manager at the Ministry of Health, said in a statement on Monday.
Lino said the East African country was still safe from the Ebola virus which has killed more than 1,000 people in the neighboring DRC since August 2018.
“The public should not panic if they see health workers in protective gear, ambulances or other Ebola-related activities as these are part of the simulation only,” he added.
He observed that the simulation was a practical test for health workers who have participated in capacity building and training activities, adding that the drills were in accordance with international health regulations.
“The Ministry of Health assures the public that the Ebola virus has not been detected in South Sudan. However, the public should continue to remain vigilant and report any person exhibiting Ebola symptoms to the nearest health facility or call the toll-free number 6666,” he said.
Lino underlined that the Ministry of Health and UN were working collectively on prevention and preparedness efforts since the onset of the outbreak in the DRC and would continue to strengthen measures.
South Sudanese health officials have warned in the past that entry of Ebola into the country could be imminent.