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Rise in COVID-19 infections expected, no school closures in Sudan

March 31 - 2021 KHARTOUM / EL FASHER
(Daniel Foster / Creative Commons)
(Daniel Foster / Creative Commons)

Sudanese Minister of Health Omar El Najeeb expects “a steady increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths during the next three months”. This will not lead to school closures, El Najeeb said at a press conference in Khartoum yesterday.

According to Health Minister El Najeeb teachers must be vaccinated and students must be provided with free face masks to limit the spread of the disease.

There are less than 150 empty beds in the isolation centres in Khartoum at this moment. Bahri and Soba Hospital also urgently need medical equipment.

El Najeeb stressed the need for a reduction of the number of employees working in certain institutions and added that he has asked these institutions to provide face masks for their employees. The government is trying to provide free face masks to school students, he stated.

Omar El Najeeb reported that 5,000 people have been vaccinated this month. More than a million doses of the vaccine have been provided by China and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Ministry of Health is responsible for the vaccinations, which are provided to the people free of costs. El Najeeb said that the Chinese Sinovac vaccine has been proven effective in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey. Osman also referred to recent efforts to start manufacturing the vaccine in Sudan itself.

Abdelmalik El Hadiya, advisor to the Minister of Health, said that the vaccination programme targets 20 per cent of the people, including 500,000 health care workers and people older than sixty who suffer from chronic diseases. He added that vaccination is the only way to eradicate the disease. At this moment, there are 47 vaccination centres in Khartoum. This will increase to 147 next week.

Omar El Najeeb observed that the health care sector has been subject to great destruction over the last 30 years. He spoke about the introduction of a new law on the establishment of a Health Facilities Protection Unit to protect health care personnel. He added that the regular forces are responsible for most of the attacks on medical personnel.

Doctor Montasir Osman, Deputy Director of Health Emergencies Committee, said that the total number of recorded COVID-19 infections rose to 30,211 so far. 2,079 patients died. 38 per cent of all cases are people between 20 to 40 years. Osman attributed the rise of COVID-19 cases to a lack of adherence to health precautions. He added that the number of registered cases is “limited” compared to the number of unregistered cases. Just 5,000 COVID-19 tests are carried out in Sudan every day, he said.

The current vaccination programme aims to reduce both morbidity and mortality, Osman said. The goal is to vaccinate 65 per cent of the population in order to reach herd immunity which will limit the spread of the disease.

The Ministry of Health in North Darfur announced that health emergency measures will be enforced in all localities of the state for a period of two months. In the past week there has been a steady increase in COVID-19 infections in the state. Most of the cases were recorded in the capital El Fasher, many of them in isolation centres. Other cases were recorded in Mellit locality and one case in Kalamindo locality.


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