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Coronavirus: Khartoum airport reopens for stranded Sudanese

March 19 - 2020 KHARTOUM
File photo
File photo

Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority has decided to briefly re-open Khartoum airport to air traffic for 48 hours, effective Thursday evening, to enable Sudanese stranded abroad by coronavirus (Covid-19) travel restrictions to return home, and foreigners to leave.

Sudan’s Security and Defence Council chaired by the President of the Transitional Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, declared a state of health emergency in Sudan on Monday to counter the emerging coronavirus epidemic.

Following Monday’s declaration, member and spokesman of the Sovereign Council, Mohamed El Faki, announced in a press statement that a higher committee was formed to adopt all the measures that prevent the disease from entering the country and to mobilise all health, security and logistical capabilities that assist to perform its duties.

He said that the committee has issued a decision to close all airports, ports, and land crossings, with the exception of trips that carry aid and technical and humanitarian support, and scheduled air cargo flights. He stressed that the committee has adopted all necessary measures to receive citizens stranded at land crossings, and to prepare places for them to spend the quarantine period.

By solidarity and cooperation of government and the Sudanese people and the world as a whole, we can defeat this pandemic, which is the biggest disaster in contemporary history’ – PM Abdallah Hamdok.

In a statement via the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok affirmed the government’s keenness to ward off the coronavirus pandemic, saying by solidarity and cooperation of government and the Sudanese people and the world as a whole we can defeat this pandemic, which, he said, is the biggest disaster in the contemporary history.

Hamdok called on the public to follow measures and advices issued by the Federal Health Ministry seriously and strictly, noting that following that advice is sufficient to defeat the disease.

He stated that the recent measures taken by the government might seem to have caused difficulty for the public, but those measures are for their own protection: “We consider the suffering of people at border crossings and  we have done as much as we can to take measures to lessen those sufferings.”

The Prime Minister urged the public to avoid mass gatherings and cancel celebrations and funerals, saying that “renouncing these traditions temporarily aims to defeat this disaster”.

Hamdok voiced appreciation for the “huge efforts by Sudanese philanthropists, national capitalists, the private sector, youth of the revolution, and all sectors of the Sudanese people to ward off this pandemic.

Stranded

Civil Aviation Authority’s spokesman Abdelhafiz Abdelerahim said yesterday that the decision to reopen the airport comes in the context of tackling the problem of Sudanese stranded at various airports and affected by the border closure decision.

He explained that the airport would open at 7:45 pm Thursday local time and until the same time Saturday.

Yesterday, 375 Sudanese who were stranded on the Sudanese-Egyptian border arrived in Khartoum in critical humanitarian situations, amid an appeal to other authorities to extend a helping hand.

Aisha Mousa, a member of the Sovereign Council, said in a video that the stranded arrived after midnight on buses. They are now at El Amal Hospital near the Blue Nile in Khartoum North.

Mousa appealed to individuals and charitable organisations to extend a helping hand, pointing to the need of these people for water, food, and medical services.

Forces for Freedom and Change

The Central Council of the Forces for Freedom and Change discussed the efforts of the Transitional Government to contain the coronavirus in Sudan decided to guard against speculators with the wheat crop.

The Council directed the affiliates of the alliance to make every effort to increase health measures solve the issue of those stranded abroad and provide adequate shelters to meet the needs of blocking the epidemic.

The Central Council discussed the file of the Legislative Council whose formation was delayed due to the signing of the Juba Declaration between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, and the meeting decided to work to expedite its formation and formed a delegation to communicate with the military component about its formation.

Discussion would also continue with armed movements to reach an agreed formation, especially with the approaching date of the signing of the peace agreement with the SRF on April 9.


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