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Sudan restricts travel amid panic over new COVID-19 mutation

December 22 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Cartoon of COVID-19 invading Sudan from Egypt by land and the UAE by air. Omar Dafallah, April 2020 (RD)
Cartoon of COVID-19 invading Sudan from Egypt by land and the UAE by air. Omar Dafallah, April 2020 (RD)

Yesterday, the Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority decided to prevent entry to passengers from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and South Africa following the emergence of a new, more infectious, strain of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom and another one in South Africa. The ban starts today and is set to remain in place until January 5, 2021.

The decision prevents entry to passengers on direct or indirect flights from any of the respective countries, independent of their nationality. The Civil Aviation Authority notified all carrier companies operating in Sudan and urged them to implement this decision. 

The Ministry of Health recorded 326 new cases of COVID-19, 18 deaths, and 265 recoveries according to the latest epidemiological reports from Saturday and Sunday. This brings total number of recorded cases to 23,316, with 1,468 deaths and 13,524 recoveries. However, doctors have warned that the actual number of cases is much higher. In Khartoum, it is likely that only 2 per cent of COVID-19 deaths is recorded as such.

COVID-19 records December 20, 2020 (MoH)


On Sunday, the Ministry of Health met with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to discuss ways to strengthen the country's health system. The WHO welcomed a contribution of 11.5 million Euros from the European Union to fight COVID-19 in Sudan as part of a larger project to improve the country’s overall health system. 

The large-scale 2-year project is set to benefit an estimated 42 million people in Sudan, including internally displaced people and refugees.


Next to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sudan also continues to suffer from widespread malaria infections. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated that about 87% of the Sudanese population are at risk of contracting malaria. 

In partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Global Fund, UNICEF is distributing 4.6 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets across 12 states in Sudan, at a total cost of $9.3 million. This is especially aimed at preventing illness and death from malaria among young, often malnourished, children and internally displaced people.

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