Sudan bans inter-city passenger travel in bid to halt coronavirus

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan announced on Sunday that it was banning all passenger road transport between cities and deploying emergency laws to ensure compliance with measures aimed at stopping the spread of the new coronavirus.

The number of confirmed cases in Sudan is low — just 19 people have tested positive including two who died — but officials struggling with an economic crisis and a severely weakened health system are eager to forestall widespread transmission of the illness.

Transitional authorities that took power after the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir one year ago have imposed a 12-hour curfew, shut down schools, universities and clubs, and banned gatherings.

Compliance with the measures has been uneven.

Those violating the restrictions, breaking quarantine rules, hiding information or impeding medical treatment could now face criminal prosecution under emergency laws, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

The ban on private and commercial passenger vehicles travelling between cities and states takes effect immediately, according to a statement from the ruling sovereign council.

(This story corrects final paragraph to make clear it is a ban on private and commercial passenger vehicles)

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