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COVID-19: ‘Postpone school year’, Sudanese doctors urge

November 19 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Graphic: RD
Graphic: RD

Sudanese doctors are appealing to the Khartoum government to further postpone the start of the school year – scheduled for Sunday – due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. The doctors also assert that the spread of the virus is being underreported in official figures.

The Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday that 319 new COVID-19 cases were registered over the weekend and that 59 patients died the past two days. The Directorate General of Emergencies and Epidemic Control of the Ministry of Health had initially reported 128 new COVID-19 cases. In a press statement the ministry stated yesterday that 191 cases registered in private laboratories should be added.

Official reports state the total official number of coronavirus cases in Sudan as 15,047. The majority of the victims live in Khartoum. The official death toll is listed as 1,175, however doctors say, “the real number of cases is much greater”.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga for the Sahhatna (Our Health) programme to be broadcast on Friday, Dr Ali Bashir said that many students do not adhere to health requirements such as social distancing and wearing face masks, aggravated by the high prices of face masks.

Herd immunity

Dr Bashir called for the cancellation of all events and crowds, especially in enclosed spaces. He emphasised that said that events that bring together participants from various locations increases the risk of spreading the virus.

“The method of herd immunity that the Ministry of Health and the High Committee for Health Emergencies have opted for will not limit the spread of the disease,” he explained.

The medic described the health care provided to people with coronavirus insufficient. At the same time, a comprehensive lockdown is impossible due to the dire economic and living conditions.

He called on the public to keep away from crowded places and gatherings, except for necessity, to adhere to health requirements and increase immunity by eating healthy food, paying attention to hygiene, and avoiding places with poor ventilation.

Postponed

The Sudanese Ministry of Education postponed the press conference scheduled for Wednesday to discuss arrangements for the new school year.

Sources clarified that the postponement came under the direction of the High Committee for Health Emergencies, with the emergence of a trend to postpone the school year due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When protests against the regime of Omar Al Bashir that started in the end of 2018, began to spread over the entire country in in January the following year, schools were closed. They remained closed, off and on, until now. Final exams students of the basic and secondary schools were allowed to do their examinations, respectively in March and in September this year.

Many children have not had lessons for almost two years.

The start of the new school year scheduled for September 27 this year, was postponed to November 22, because of the record Nile floods, as well as the shortage of furniture and textbooks.


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