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Sudan tests COVID-19 cases on Delta variant, continues vaccinations

August 18 - 2021 KHARTOUM
(Cartoon by Omar Dafallah / RD)
(Cartoon by Omar Dafallah / RD)

The Sudanese Ministry of Health yesterday announced that 29 new coronavirus infections were recorded on Monday, including eight asymptomatic cases among travellers. The Ministry has sent COVID-19 samples abroad to be tested on variants of the virus. At least 575,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses are expected to arrive this month.

Mohamed El Khidir, Director of the Emergencies and Epidemics Department reported during the Health Ministry’s weekly press briefing on Tuesday that Khartoum registered 24 new COVID-19 cases*, Red Sea state three, and Northern State and El Gezira one case each the day before.

He said that the Emergency Technical Committee has recommended amending the policy of quarantining those coming from India as the number of COVID-19 cases in the Asian country is decreasing, and no new COVID-19 cases have been registered among those arriving from India since July 29.

The Emergency Technical Committee also advised conducting a quick examination for those coming from abroad.

As for the Delta variant, the Health Ministry has sent samples of COVID-19 infections abroad to gain information on the variants of the coronavirus present in Sudan. The results are expected to arrive within two to four weeks.

Vaccines

The Director of the Health Ministry’s Immunisation Department announced the resumption of vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine, following the arrival of two shipments, estimated at more than 575,000 doses.

The shipments sent by Germany and France will arrive this month, Ismail El Adani explained during the press briefing on Tuesday. The vaccines will be used to complete the second dose for those already vaccinated once with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

El Adani called on the people who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to wait and not to take any other vaccine in order to ensure their safety.

He further said that “technical preparations” for vaccinating people with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been completed. The next vaccination campaign will target medical cadres and teachers. By the end of 2021, other professional groups will be vaccinated.

Red Sea state

The Governor of Red Sea state, Abdallah Shangarai, reported a further decrease in new COVID-19 cases, with the vaccination campaign ongoing.

Eastern Sudan’s Red Sea state in particular witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases last month. The spike has been attributed to the arrival of cases from Khartoum and through the six Red Sea state ports.


* Sudanese medics have asserted more than once that the spread of the virus is being underreported in official figures. As the symptoms resemble those of malaria to a certain extent, patients are often not requested to undergo a COVID-19 test. Hospitals are not equipped to treat people infected with the coronavirus and refuse to receive them. Another reason may be the stigmatising of the deadly disease by many Sudanese who just deny the presence of COVID-19 in the country.


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