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Lockdown in Sudan capital from Saturday after third coronavirus death and 29 infected

April 14 - 2020 KHARTOUM

On Monday, the Sudanese Ministry of Health reported 10 new cases of coronavirus (Covid-19), bringing the total number of cases in the country to 29, with three deaths to date. The authorities have decided to impose a total lockdown in Khartoum, effective from Saturday April 18.

Minister of Health Akram El Tom confirmed in a press statement that 10 new cases have been recorded in Sudan. All except one are in Khartoum. The other case was recorded in Abu Hamed in River Nile state. El Tom said that a foreigner has died of coronavirus which raises the number of Covid-19 deaths to three.

The minister appealed to the Sudanese people to follow the instructions and the guidance of the Ministry of Health. “Undermining these instructions and guidance will have consequences. Anyone who feels symptoms must come forward,” he said.

He further urged the security forces to play their role in protecting health personnel who are on duty.

“Unfortunately, the increasing numbers of positive confirmed cases daily indicates that our country is experiencing an advanced stage regarding pandemic spread. Such a stage requires a concerted effort from both the government and the people to overcome this new global threat,” El Tom said.

Leave of absence

In a statement on Monday, the High Committee for Health Emergencies declared the imposition of a total lockdown for three weeks as of Saturday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

The statement explained that during this lockdown, workers in the public and private sectors in Khartoum state will be given a leave of absence for three weeks, except for sectors related to basic needs such as food.

Sudan’s Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Feisal Mohamed Saleh announced that during the lockdown businesses such as pharmacies and supermarkets will be allowed to operate.

He explained that in the coming two days, the High Committee for Health Emergencies will announce the time range during which people will be permitted to go out when necessary.

Response plan, initiatives

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan said in its latest Situation Report on Thursday that UN partners in the country updated the coronavirus - Covid-19 Country Preparedness and Response Plan created to support the government of Sudan and national preparedness for the spread of the coronavirus.

The plan, which requires $47 million to implement, focuses on public health measures, and covers a three-month period. The plan will be updated on a monthly basis or if the situation changes.

The private sector and organisations in Sudan launched several initiatives to combat the spread of Covid-19 in the country. The Businessmen’s Union, telecommunications companies, and the Banking Union have pledged 200 million Sudanese pounds (nearly $2 million) as a first payment to support the government’s health plan to address the coronavirus pandemic.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Sudan supplied and installed laptops, devices and two teleconference facilities to ensure that Sudan’s key government offices can continue functioning while observing physical distancing.

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