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Virus outbreak could spin ‘out of control’ in South Sudan

In this photo taken Sunday, June 21, 2020, an infectious disease specialist, left, takes a sample from Dr. Reagan Taban Augustino, right, now a coronavirus patient himself under quarantine, at the Dr John Garang Infectious Diseases Unit in Juba, South Sudan. The United Nations says the country's outbreak is growing rapidly, with nearly 1,900 cases, including more than 50 health workers infected, and at the only laboratory in the country that tests for the virus a team of 16 works up to 16-hour days slogging through a backlog of more than 5,000 tests. (AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — It began with a dry cough, weakness and back pain. For Reagan Taban Augustino, part of South Sudan’s small corps of health workers trained in treating COVID-19 patients, there was little doubt what he had.

Days later, hardly able to breathe, the 33-year-old doctor discovered just how poorly equipped his country is for the coronavirus pandemic: None of the public facilities he tried in the capital, Juba, had oxygen supplies available until he reached South Sudan’s only permanent infectious disease unit, which has fewer than 100 beds for a country of 12 million people.

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