The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has denied reports on social media that he had contracted COVID-19 and had been flown out of the country to seek treatment.
“There has never been any reassignment of duties of the president. The public should not delve into propaganda,” Mr Kiir said.
Last week Mr Kiir’s deputy Riek Machar and nine other members of a high-level task force to fight Covid-19, tested positive for the virus.
They are all self-isolating.
In his speech, Mr Kiir also warned that the country would be in a “deplorable” state if it did not curb the spread of coronavirus:
“Our health system may not be able to withstand overwhelming emergencies we have witnessed in other countries if things get worse.”
Mr Kiir’s assessment is in line with concerns that years of conflict in South Sudan had made its health care system vulnerable and unable to deal with a health crisis.
Mr Kiir said that the country now has 600 cases of Covid-19.