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21 Apr 2020 | 12:23 AM UTC

Sudan: Flight suspensions extended until at least May 20 /update 6

Sudanese aviation authorities extend suspension of domestic and international flights until at least May 20; lockdown measures in Khartoum in effect

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SDN

Event

Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority reportedly announced on Monday, April 20, that it has extended a ban on domestic and international flights until at least May 20. Scheduled cargo, humanitarian, and technical aid flights remain exempt from the restrictions. The extension comes after health officials recorded 26 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

Strict lockdown measures in Khartoum and Omdurman came into effect on Saturday, April 18, and will remain in place for three weeks. Only essential services will remain open, while employees will be granted a paid leave of absence. Authorities added that supermarkets and pharmacies will be open for limited hours but have not yet confirmed the timings. Individuals will be allowed limited movement within their neighborhoods to purchase necessities. A nighttime curfew is in effect nationwide from 20:00 to 06:00 (local time). 

A ban on domestic travel also remains in place. Private and commercial passenger vehicles, including long-haul buses, will be prohibited from traveling between cities and states. Mass gatherings, including religious celebrations, are currently prohibited and sports venues and cafes remain closed.

As of April 20, 107 cases of COVID-19 and 12 associated fatalities have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

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.

Advice

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.