Sudan frees thousands of prisoners as coronavirus precaution

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan released 4,217 prisoners on Wednesday as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, state news agency SUNA said, citing a health ministry official who said those freed had been tested for possible infections.

Sudan, which is in the middle of an economic crisis and transition after the toppling of veteran ruler Omar al-Bashir last year, has confirmed three cases of the coronavirus.

Its health system is in a poor state after years without investment and an exodus of doctors to seek work in Gulf Arab countries.

Sudan, which declared a public health emergency last week, has imposed a nationwide curfew at night to help curb the spread of the coronavirus and closed all its airports, ports and land crossings.

Only humanitarian, commercial and technical support shipments are excluded from the restrictions, according to the ruling council, in charge of the country since Bashir’s ouster.

Reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz, Ahmed Tolba and Amina Ismail; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Catherine Evans