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No new Covid-19 cases recorded in Sudan

April 9 - 2020 KHARTOUM / PORT SUDAN
Cleaning the Jackson bus station in Khartoum (Social media)
Cleaning the Jackson bus station in Khartoum (Social media)

No new coronavirus patients have been recorded since Tuesday. The Libya Market in Omdurman will be closed on the Sudanese weekend of Friday and Saturday. The Red Sea state health authorities have isolated a group of about 100 people who entered Sudan from Egypt.

On Wednesday, the Sudanese Ministry of Health announced that the total number of suspected coronavirus patients in isolation centres in the country reached 224, after 25 new cases were recorded on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry reported two new cases of coronavirus infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 14, all recorded in Khartoum. Two patients have died. 12 of the cases were infected abroad, two of them by other patients in the capital.

The security council of Ombadda locality in Omdurman decided to close the Libya Market on Friday and Saturday “to further sterilise the market”. The large market will be closed for 48 hours only “in order not to hamper people buying what they need at this critical time”.

The Sudanese government imposed a Health Emergency on March 17, closing Sudan’s land and air borders. A week later, a curfew was imposed, from 8 pm to 6 am. Schools and markets were closed, gatherings prohibited, and public transport to the states was banned.

The authorities are considering a gradual lockdown in the country. Another possibility is closing the country’s capital only, in order to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease to the states.

On Tuesday, the governors of North and West Darfur released 222 prisoners as a precautionary measure.

The UN Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on April 2 that the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are already affecting humanitarian aid in the country.

‘More vulnerable’

In Red Sea state in eastern Sudan, about 100 people who arrived from Egypt are being held in quarantine at the Oseif Isolation Centre near the border, according to the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The governor of Red Sea state, Maj Gen Hafiz El Taj, told reporters in Port Sudan that the state is more vulnerable to Covid-19 because of its geographical position, with a “sea entrance overlooking the outside world”. In addition, Red Sea state borders with Egypt in the north, and with Eritrea in the south.

Doctor Zafaran El Zaki, director of the Red Sea state Health Ministry, reported that his staff has prepared a number of intensive care beds in various hospitals, and quarantine centres with varying capacities, ranging from eight to 400 beds.

‘Underestimated’

According to Cameron Hudson, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Africa Centre, “given the almost total lack of testing and near-absent health care system, that figure [of confirmed cases in Sudan] is most assuredly grossly underestimated”.

Sudan is “in perhaps one of the worst situations anywhere in the world to mobilize an effective national response because of grinding poverty, lack of household savings to offset lost income, lack of access to clean water, proper sanitation, and health supplies, and millions living in displaced persons camps across Darfur and the Two Areas [South Kordofan and Blue Nile states] where Covid-19 could rip through with devastating effect.”

 


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