After three months of drastic restrictions in an attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Sudan has begun to relax its lockdown in and around the capital Karthoum.
Since Wednesday, the usual pedestrian and vehicular movements has resumed in the city streets, shops and restaurants have also been reopened.
Khartoum resident Abdelrahman Mohammed, laments the hardships of the last few months: Our days have become so long, the living conditions are difficult, the population can no longer bear it, people have respected the rules, but they will no longer be able to respect them because of their financial situation.
In April, the authorities had interrupted government services and closed local markets and restaurants in Khartoum province, allowing only small grocery stores to open during authorised hours. However, these containment measures have exacerbated the ongoing economic crisis in the country.
Osama al-Badawi, a merchant, shares the pain of the ordinary Sudanese: “The people were very affected, and a lot of the goods got rotted. We have high rents to pay, in addition to our daily expenses.
“The best season for shopkeepers is usually Ramadan, but the shops have been closed, and shopkeepers have to pay the charges out of their own pockets”.
Marked by inflation and a shortage of foreign currency, Sudan’s fragile economy justifies the increase in the price of basic food items.
In spite of the ease, some restrictions demand compliance. A curfew remains in place whiles reports say, government services will gradually resume as of 19 July.