Federal Ministry of Health confirms over 10,300 COVID-19 cases
First case: 13 March 2020
Total cases: 10,316 (as of 9 July 2020)
Total deaths: 657
States affected: All 18 states
Schools: Closed (8,375,193 learners affected).
Borders/flights: All land borders closed. UNHAS received, on 8 July, approval from the Sudan Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) to resume in-country flights from of 12 July, which will facilitate humanitarian operations across the country. At the same time, the SCAA reportedly announced that Khartoum airport will be partially opened within a week, and gradually resume international and international flights, according to media reports. The partial opening could facilitate the arrival of thousands of Sudanese stranded abroad since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Containment measures: On 7 July the High Committee for Health Emergencies announced the ease of lockdown restrictions in Khartoum State. The curfew has been changed from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm, bridges have been opened and transportation is allowed during this period. Movement to and from Khartoum and other states is not allowed. Some states in Darfur Region have closed borders and have imposed curfews to limit the movement of people. Schools and universities will remain closed. Government institutions will resume work on 12 July. The Council of Ministers has set the working hours in Federal Ministries and the Ministries in Khartoum, from 8.00 a.m. until 3.00 p.m. Ministers and department heads are to ensure that the work can be done by 30 to 50 per cent of the employees, to reduce congestion in the workplace. All staff must wear face masks and workplaces are to be sanitized regularly .
Sudan recorded its first COVID-19 case on 13 March 2020. Since then, WHO has confirmed that 10,316 people contracted the virus, including 657 who died from the disease, as of 9 July.
All 18 states have reported cases, with Khartoum, El Gezira, and Gedaref states amongst the hardest-hit. The increasing number of transmissions continues to pose pressure on the country’s fragile health system, according to humanitarian partners. Sudan has only 184 beds in intensive care units (ICU) and approximately 160 of them have ventilators, according to WHO. Only four ICU doctors—three in Khartoum and one and Gezira State—, and 78 COVID-19 dedicated health workers, less than half of them trained to deal with patients infected with the virus, according to WHO. WHO and partners are importing nearly 8,000 new testing kits over the coming weeks, to support the Government-led response.
To mitigate the adverse socio-economic impacts of COVID-19—with the lockdown and closure of non-essential businesses in many states—coupled with the economic crisis and rapidly rising food prices, the Government of Sudan will implement a Family Support Programme, which will provide support vulnerable families. The Government estimates that 65 per cent of the population live below the poverty line and the Family Support Programme will provide direct cash transfers each month to around 80 per cent of Sudanese families to support them through the challenging economic circumstances currently facing the country, safeguarding people at risk of slipping into extreme poverty. The multi-ministerial programme, led by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), is expected to start in the second half of the year with financing from the Government of Sudan and partners.
Before COVID-19, about 9.3 million people were already in need of humanitarian support across Sudan. Years of conflict, recurrent climatic shocks and disease outbreaks continue to affect the lives and livelihoods of many Sudanese. Hundreds of thousands are food insecure and the country has high malnutrition rates. Because of the fragile economy, more and more people are unable to meet their basic needs, as high inflation continues to erode families’ purchasing power. An average local food basket takes up at least 75 per cent of household income.
The Federal Government, the United Nations (UN) and humanitarian partners have joint their efforts to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sudan. A COVID-19 Country Preparedness and Response Plan (CPRP), organized around eight pillars, is currently being implemented by UN agencies, NGOs and other partners in support to the Sudanese Government-led response.
Immediate priorities include:
Strengthening the state coordination mechanisms.
Improvement and scale up of isolation centres at the state level.
Scaling up the risk communications and infection, prevention and control activities.
Scaling up testing capacity and prevent delays.
Strengthening of screening and quarantine facilities at points of entry.
Improvement in contact tracing.