Source: Eye Radio
The U.S embassy in Juba says it recently facilitated a return to the US some of its citizens who were stranded in South Sudan despite a ban on an international flight.
Last week, the High-level task force on coronavirus closed Juba International Airport to all international flights, with limited exceptions, including cargo and humanitarian flights.
The Civil Aviation Authority has implemented measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
However, a senior U.S embassy official said the Saturday flight was in line with the U.S Department of State health advisory on coronavirus pandemic.
Embassy Public Affairs Officer, Jonathan Cebra, disclosed that on March 19, the U.S Department of State issued a worldwide health advisory, advising all U.S citizens to avoid all international travels due to the global impact of COVID-19.
Cebra says U.S. citizens, who were unable to return home due to the suspension of regularly scheduled commercial flights from South Sudan, were flown out on Saturday.
“The U.S Department of State issued a worldwide health advisory on March 19, advising all U.S citizens to avoid all international travels due to the global impact of COVID-19. The flight on Saturday enabled U.S citizens to follow that advice,” Jonathan Cebra said.
“The U.S embassy in Juba has reduced its staffing and its accessing feasibility of certain programming at this time, but we retain sufficient staff to perform our core tasks; bilateral engagement, development, and humanitarian assistance and support for US citizens.”
“The flight on Saturday is commercially operated by Ethiopian Airlines and the majority of passengers are not American citizens.”
In a separate development, the embassy disclosed that the U.S government is providing additional humanitarian funding for South Sudan of $8 million to help stop COVID-19.
This assistance, Cebra added, will primarily provide health-related support and supplies to bolster water and sanitation activities.
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