Darfur: Unamid takes coronavirus precautions

The African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (Unamid) has announced that it is entering “first phase readiness to combat and prevent spread of Covid-19”.

Unamid peacekeeper conducts a medical clinic in West Darfur (File photo: Umalhassan Khamis / Unamid)

The African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (Unamid) has announced that it is entering “first phase readiness to combat and prevent spread of Covid-19”.

In a statement from Unamid HQ in Zalingei, capital of Central Darfur, yesterday, the mission says that it has adopted and is implementing a number of measures in its area of operations.

The measures are to ensure that the risk to its personnel and to the host country is minimised as well as ensuring that staff members strictly follow critical precautionary measures to avoid or minimise the chance of contracting the COVID19, in line with UN Division of Healthcare Management and Occupational Safety and Health (DHMOSH).

“These measures, part of the Mission’s Contingency Plan for Covid-19, include the tracking of its staff travelling to and from affected regions around the world and putting in place measures to accommodate their safe return to the Unamid community; implementing self-quarantine of staff members who may have travelled from affected countries; training of Mission staff, isolation areas within the camps, including uniformed personnel, in personal and environmental hygiene and ensuring effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE) especially among health care workers in Unamid.

“Unamid does not underestimate the critical need for prevention and management of Covid-19 in its mandated area of operation. This calls for a coordinated and impactful approach from the UN community in Darfur in close consultation with the Government of Sudan authorities who have shown a high level of cooperation with the Mission on this rather important matter. Unamid looks forward to this continued cooperation with all stakeholders involved in the fight against this pandemic and stands ready to support the host community, within available resources. Together, we will win this fight,” Jeremiah Mamabolo, Unamid Joint Special Representative/ Joint Chief Mediator stated.

The Mission’s Covid-19 Crisis Management Team is fully engaged with the Government of Sudan on the matter and continues to take all necessary precautions in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and decisions of Sudanese federal and state health authorities aimed at combatting and preventing the spread of Covid-19 in the Mission’s area or operation in Darfur.

The latest Unamid statement says that “at this point, the Mission is not aware of any confirmed case(s) of Covid-19 in its area of operation”.

Flights grounded

As reported by Radio Dabanga on March 12, Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority shut-down all direct flights from Egypt to Darfur by the Unamid peacekeeping mission.

The Civil Aviation Authority issued two international publications for the stop of direct flights of Unamid personnel from Egypt to the three Darfur airports.

The spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Authority, Dr Abdelhafiz Abdelrahim, explained in a statement to SUNA that the two international publications were directed to pilots of flights from Egypt to El Fasher, Nyala, and El Geneina, to land at Khartoum airport to allow for incoming personnel to be properly screened according to the precautionary health procedures, effective March 11 until April 15. This may be extended.

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