Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Sudan extend passenger flight ban through May 20 to combat the spread of COVID-19. Transport disruptions likely.

This alert affects Sudan

This alert began 20 Apr 2020 20:36 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 20
  • Impact: Increased security, transport and business disruptions,

Summary
Authorities in Sudan have extended the ban on all domestic and international passenger flights through May 20 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Limited exceptions exist for flights intended for the evacuation of foreign nationals, cargo, humanitarian flights, and for work related to oil production. Authorities previously closed all airports for passenger flights, including Khartoum International Airport (KRT), from March 16.

The flight ban and extension are part of a broader program of nationwide measures aimed at containing the disease, which also includes the following;

  • A 21-day travel restriction imposed from April 18 on Khartoum residents, restricting movement unless to obtain or provide essential goods or services from grocery stores or pharmacies
  • A nationwide curfew from 1800-0600
  • Land and sea border closures
  • A ban on mass gatherings and intercity and interstate public transportation


Security personnel are deployed to enforce ongoing measures. Additional travel restrictions or health security measures may be implemented with little notice.

Background and Analysis
The COVID-19-related measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

The planned travel restrictions in Khartoum also come amid Sudan's economic deterioration, particularly involving the rise of bread and fuel prices. Hundreds of people demonstrated April 10, violating the existing nationwide health-related state of emergency. Further protests are possible. Police may deploy to confront protesters if and when they violate curfew and movement restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo. Avoid all demonstrations.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Ministry of Health Sudan: www.fmoh.gov.sd