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Influential South Sudanese politician dies

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South Sudan’s Minister for East Africa Affairs John Luk Jok has died in the capital, Juba, after falling sick on Monday night.

Authorities say he died on Tuesday morning at his home in the city.

The minister was an influential figure in South Sudan’s politics and was among the drafters of the country’s transitional constitution.

He held several cabinet positions including stints at the ministries of justice, petroleum and mines, and transport.

Despite local media reports that he could have succumbed to Covid-19, a government official says he had recently tested negative for coronavirus.

South Sudan has seen a sharp rise in number of confirmed cases with 994 infections and 10 deaths.

Two weeks ago, the country’s Vice-President Riek Machar confirmed that he had tested positive for the virus.

Ten other ministers and senior government officials who were part of a team leading the fight against Covid-19 were also confirmed to have been infected.

Aid agencies have warned that the rising cases pose a serious threat to the country’s weak health system.

Years of fighting have left the health sector underfunded and almost entirely dependent on donor support.

South Sudan has about 25 intensive care beds and only four ventilators for a population of 12 million people.

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