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Coronavirus: 21 suspected cases in Sudan

March 20 - 2020 KHARTOUM (UPDATED)
Map of Sudan (OCHA)
Map of Sudan (OCHA)

On Thursday, the Sudanese Ministry of Health reported 21 suspected cases of coronavirus in the country. 14 of them appeared in Khartoum. Of the current 21 suspected cases, 18 are being treated in isolation centres in Khartoum and the states, three others remain isolated at home.

According to the Health Ministry, no new positive corona cases were recorded after the first case, earlier this month. The patient, a man in his 50s, died in the capital Khartoum on March 10.

270 previously quarantined people have been discharged while 67 people remain in isolation centres. The majority of people in isolation are in Khartoum state with one person each in North Darfur, North Kordofan, West Kordofan, River Nile state, Kassala, and Red Sea state.

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok stressed the government's determination to halt the spread of the virus. “With solidarity, the Sudanese people and the whole world, we can defeat this pandemic, one of the biggest disasters in contemporary history,” he said.

Hamdok urged the Sudanese “to seriously follow the instructions” issued by the Health Ministry.

South Darfur governor Maj Gen Hashim Khalid announced on Thursday that a joint force of army soldiers and militiamen of the Rapid Support Forces militia in 100 armoured vehicles has been sent to the borders with Chad, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan, in order to prevent the corona virus entering the state.

Sudan’s health system is marked by decades of limited investment, underfunding, and lack of qualified staff, infrastructure, equipment, medicines and supplies, the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in its latest Situation Report on Thursday.

The surveillance system does not cover the entire country and is structurally weak with long delays between alert and confirmation of an outbreak.


End January, the Ministry of Health ordered checkpoints at Khartoum International Airport, Port Sudan Airport, the Port Sudan main port and the border with Egypt, in order to monitor the movement of people entering the country. Two isolation centres were set-up at the Khartoum Teaching Hospital and the Khartoum airport.

Recently, Khartoum intensified its campaign to prevent the spread of the contagious disease.

On Saturday, the Council of Ministers directed Sudan’s security authorities to support the Ministry of Health implementing quarantine procedures. Military hospitals throughout the country should serve as isolation centres.

All kindergartens, schools, universities, and other educational institutes were to be closed for the period of one month.

Two days later, Sudan’s Sovereign Council declared a public health emergency, and instructed the closure of all airports, ports, and land crossings in the country.

Khartoum airport was re-opened to air traffic for 48 hours on Thursday evening, to enable Sudanese stranded abroad by coronavirus travel restrictions to return home, and foreigners to leave.

Upon arrival to the country, all people will have their temperature taken. Those with a fever will be quarantined. The others will be asked to stay at home in self-quarantine for one month, OCHA said in its Situation Report.

UN agencies and partners continue distributing information as well as education and communication materials on COVID-19 prevention.


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