Gov’t to change COVID-19 6666 hotline over ‘Illuminati’ concerns

Gov’t to change COVID-19 6666 hotline over ‘Illuminati’ concerns
South Sudan Public Health Emergency Operation Center (photo credit: courtesy)

JUBA – The government of South Sudan through the Ministry of Health is considering changing the 6666 COVID-19 toll-free number over societal concerns that the number is synonymous with the infamous 666 attributed to the ‘Illuminati’.

Dr. Angelo Goup Thon, the Director for Public Health Emergency Preparedness, told City Review in a phone interview that many people have been hesitant to call the number despite exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms.

He said, this is because of the general perception embedded in the society, which has made it difficult to handle emergency cases.

“We are yet to discuss with the ministry of health to change the Hotline number because many people perceive that number 6666 is for Illuminati and they fear to be part of it,” Dr. Goup said.

However, the director advised the public to remain steadfast and report all suspected COVID-19 cases to the current 6666 toll-free line as the government considers a shift in the face of rising infection at a 1.5 percent rate.

“This means we still need to continue intensifying surveillance and also making sure all the preventive measures are communicated and followed by the public,” the medic said.

“We have the rapid response team case management motility surveillance, contact-tracing, lab, and the other teams are all functional and our toll-free line 6666 is also working throughout and the public can call to report the cases,” he added.

The development comes after World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that the second batch of 60,000 doses of AstraZeneca and 150,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive in the country.

Dr. Sacha Bootsma, COVID-19 WHO Incident Manager told reporters in Juba on Sunday that they were expecting a new arrival of another batch of vaccines.

However, he did not disclose when exactly the doses would be available in the country but said after the first 60,000 batch, additional 60,000 doses would be brought.

“We [are] also expecting 151,000 of Johnson & Johnson which also again we do not know exactly when but hopefully all of these [vaccines] should be arriving in the country in the next couple of months,” Bootsman said.

The country’s cumulative number of Covid-19 cases confirmed up to date is 11,195 and the total number of tests performed since the outbreak was confirmed in the country is 205,468 and the number of recoveries is 10,948.

South Sudan received 132, 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from COVAX on March 25 this year and started administering vaccines in Juba before heading to the states.

However, 60,000 doses donated by other entities had to be trashed after they got spoilt. The country was forced to return 72,000 doses to the COVAX facility for fear of failing to administer them before the expiry date.

These were ferried to Nairobi, Kenya after the neighbors requested to be bailed out.

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