The Rumor Tracking Subcommittee was created in response to COVID-19 in order to develop best practices around rumor-tracking given the threat of pandemic in South Sudan. This product is a joint effort between UNICEF and the Communication and Community Engagement Working Group (CCEWG) under RCCE TWG and highlights rumors and public perceptions recently collected across South Sudan.
This initiative aims to capture reported instances of unverified information being transmitted within communities, as well as community understandings and interpretations of issues related to Coronavirus. This brief provides examples of rumors and perceptions in order to inform humanitarians of potential information gaps in affected communities.
Theme 1: Sources and Transmission of COVID-19
Source and transmission rumors are those relating to how the virus spreads and where it comes from, including attitudes of discrimination. Data collected between 15-25 April suggests that rumors and perceptions of the virus as being unable to spread in warm climates continue, as does the belief that COVID-19 is a disease of the West and China. “Many people were thinking that someone cannot get Coronavirus in a hot place like Akobo with temperature of 38-40 a day.” – Woman, 40, Akobo Town, Jonglei. 15 April 2020. “Many people in the host communities are saying that the COVID-19 invasion is a punishment from God so people should not be scared of the virus, it is for the chosen ones, it is only for the whites.” – Woman, 45, Landizima, Maridi, Western Equatoria. 16 April 2020. “The people believed that the disease cannot kill in Africa and or in South Sudan because South Sudanese believed that they have strong immune systems.” – Man, 28, Gudele 2, Juba, Central Equatoria. 20 April 2020.
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees