Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Sudan to impose a 21-day lockdown in Khartoum from April 18 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Transport disruptions likely.

This alert affects Sudan

This alert began 14 Apr 2020 16:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Khartoum (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 8
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Sudan have announced a 21-day lockdown in Khartoum from April 18 to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Specific provisions of the lockdown that have been released include:

  • All residents are required to remain at home unless obtaining or providing essential goods or services from grocery stores or pharmacies.
  • Government and private sector employees are granted a leave of absence with pay.
  • Essential service providers are exempt from the lockdown.


Security personnel will likely remain deployed throughout Khartoum to enforce the new measure. Protests in response to the action are possible in the coming days. Sporadic clashes are possible if any group attempts to break the curfew; security forces are likely to act quickly to control such incidents. Movement restrictions could result in disruptions to supply chains and the shortages of some goods.

The order is part of a broader program of nationwide measures aimed at containing the disease, which includes a nationwide 1800-0600 curfew, land and sea border closures, suspension of international and domestic flights, a ban on mass gatherings, the closure of schools and restaurants, and ban on intercity and interstate public transportation. Additional travel restrictions or health security measures may be implemented with little notice. Emergency and essential services will likely remain operational for the duration of the measure.

Background and Analysis
The COVID-19-related measure adopted by the government corresponds with similar actions taken by other global 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 lockdown in Khartoum comes amid Sudan's economic deterioration, particularly the rise of bread and fuel prices. Hundreds of people demonstrated April 10 against the deteriorating economic situation violating the existing nationwide state of health emergency against the spread of COVID-19. Further protests are possible.

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