Sudanese authorities announced on Monday, May 18, that lockdown measures in Khartoum state will be extended through Tuesday, June 2, due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Under lockdown measures, individuals are allowed limited movement within their neighborhoods to purchase necessities. Only essential services will remain open, while employees will be granted a paid leave of absence. Supermarkets and pharmacies are also operating on limited hours. The ban on travel between Khartoum and other parts of the country has also been extended. Authorities also extended the ban on communal prayers at mosques until Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, May 24.
All airports in Sudan will remain closed for international and domestic commercial passenger flights until Sunday, May 31. Flights transporting humanitarian aid, cargo, and oil industry employees, as well as those evacuating foreigners, will be exempt from the restriction. Similar restrictions are also in place for all ports and land crossings.
As of Tuesday, May 19, authorities have confirmed 2591 cases of COVID-19 in the country and 105 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.