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Covid-19 in Sudan: More than 3,100 recorded cases, medics call for protection

May 21 - 2020 KHARTOUM / NEW HALFA / EL GENEINA / EL FASHER / UM RAWABA / ED DAMER
Nurses in the Jaafar Ibn Auf Paediatric Hospital in Khartoum demand protection, May 11, 2020 (Social media)
Nurses in the Jaafar Ibn Auf Paediatric Hospital in Khartoum demand protection, May 11, 2020 (Social media)

While Covid-19 continues to spread in Sudan, a number of medical staff in Kassala have been quarantined after having been in contact with suspected cases. Yesterday, people working in the isolation centre of the Khartoum Teaching Hospital laid down their tools until their demands for Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) are fulfilled.

The Sudanese Ministry of Health reported this early morning that 410 new Covid-19 patients were recorded during the last three days. This brings the total number of registered coronavirus cases in the country since mid-March to 3,138. The vast majority, 2,553 patients, live in Khartoum.

Samples are now tested in four laboratories, the National Laboratory for General Health in Khartoum, the Central Laboratory of the Military Hospital in Omdurman, the Central Red Sea Laboratory, and the Blue Nile Laboratory.

Medics working at the isolation centre of the Khartoum Teaching Hospital embarked on a strike on Wednesday, to add weight to their demands submitted to the Sudanese Ministry of Health earlier this week. They want better accommodation at the hospital, transportation from home to work, and the provision of PPEs.

In New Halfa in eastern Sudan’s Kassala, medics stay at home in fear of infection, after a large number of their colleagues had to be quarantined because of contact with coronavirus patients.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Halfa is 13.

Doctor Abdelwahab Nouh, director of New Halfa Hospital, called the absence of the doctors “unjustified”. Yet, he also expressed concern about the way people are dealing with the medical staff at the town’s isolation centre. They treat them as if the medics are spreading the virus themselves. Doctors are harassed or ignored. Groceries and other shops refuse to serve them.

If the situation continues, the hospital may have to close its doors, the director warned.

Activists and volunteers are calling for more hygiene and sterilisation measures in the hospital.

More medics infected

The Sudan Doctors Committee unit in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, has warned of an imminent health collapse in the state after a large number of medical personnel has been infected with Covid-19.

In a statement, the committee criticised the West Darfur government for neglecting the housing of the doctors. “The hospital’s environment is not suitable for carrying out medical tasks in the light of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.”

The committee further complained about the slow pace of the collection of samples and the delay of the results due to the lack of facilities in the state.

Last week, nurses in more than 30 hospitals in Khartoum and the states carried out a 24-hour strike demanding that PPEs be provided. The Sudan Nursing Association said on Tuesday that the Health Ministry has pledged to address all problems facing the nurses.

Lockdown

The North Darfur capital of El Fasher today entered its second day of a comprehensive lockdown after dozens of people died since last week.

There is no medical evidence yet of any connection between the higher mortality rates in El Fasher and the coronavirus pandemic. North Darfur has recorded 12 confirmed Covid-19 cases so far.

The authorities reported 79 deaths, especially among the elderly, within a week, in addition to the emergence of cases of loss of smell and taste.

A medical team is investigating the causes of the sudden death of so many senior chronic patients. To facilitate the investigations, North Darfur has banned burials in any cemetery in the state without a death certificate and an official burial permission.

More markets, crossing closed

On Wednesday, Um Rawaba in North Kordofan announced the closure of the Um Rawaba Grand Market and all rural markets, after the appearance of a number of suspected coronavirus cases in the locality. A curfew was imposed, public transportation and all forms of gatherings have been banned.

River Nile state in northern Sudan closed all border crossings in the state, especially in the area of El Oteib, Shendi, and Abu Hamed. The state government in Ed Damer authorised the localities “to take any measures needed concerning suspected coronavirus cases”.


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