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Covid-19: Lockdown in El Gedaref, social distancing tested in Sudan states

Temprature control at Sudan border crossing (File photo: Social media)
Temprature control at Sudan border crossing (File photo: Social media)

The city of El Gedaref went into total lockdown on Monday as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in the state. The local authority deployed security forces to maintain social distancing. The measures came under pressure in Kassala and Red Sea states protests.

In a statement on Monday, Abbas Idris, the executive director of the municipality of El Gedaref clarified that the lockdown included all the main markets and movements within the city, except essential services such as pharmacies and health care institutions. Idris also asserted that all public gatherings are prohibited including Ramadan public prayers (taraweeh) in mosques in the city.

In a statement on Friday, the governor of El Gedaref, Maj Gen Nasreldin Ahmed issued a decision to lock-down the state and close down all border crossings with neighbouring states and countries. The lockdown will be effective for 10 days (subject to renewal).

Social distancing policies were seriously tested in Red Sea state as residents of Port Sudan protested against the deterioration of public services.

Journalist Osman Hashim told Dabanga Radio that dozens of residents demonstrated against poor public services such as electricity and drinking water. “The protestors burned tires on the streets at night that blocked the city’s main road. Police intervened and used tear gas to disperse protesters,” Hashem said.

On Monday, health workers protested in front of the Kassala hospital, demanding their ration of sugar from the government.

Some activists expressed their concerns that during this pandemic period, health workers could protest and break the ministry of health instructions and guidelines.

New cases

In its daily epidemiological report via the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), the Sudanese Ministry of Health reported 24 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday and 38 new cases on Monday, which brings the total number of officially registered coronavirus cases to 275. 22 people have died, and 21 recovered.

Of the new cases reported on Monday, all were in Khartoum state. On Sunday, 22 were recorded in Khartoum, one in East Darfur, and one in Sennar. Four earlier recorded patients died on Saturday.

On Friday, the ministry reported the first case in Darfur, registered in Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur. The man reportedly arrived from Chad. The commercial vehicle he travelled in was heading for South Darfur. Several states decided to take more precautionary measures.

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