Sudan coronavirus lockdown: 12 dead, no printed newspapers, doctors stay home
The total lockdown in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum that has been in force since Saturday has caused printed newspapers to stop publishing. A shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) has also prompted many doctors to stay at home for fear of contracting coronavirus (Covid-19) as the death toll climbed to 12.
For the first time in history, daily newspapers were absent from newsstands in Sudan. About 24 political newspapers have converted to online publishing as well as via social media channels, focusing mainly on news.
On Monday, the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper told Radio Dabanga that through their communication with the Ministry of Information, they have realised that the main problem is the shut-down of the presses as printers observe the lockdown.
Doctors stay home
The Sudanese Joint Doctors’ Bureau has echoed medical professional organisations worldwide, raising its concerns that a shortage of PPE is prompting many doctors to stay at home. It is concerned that the entire health care system might collapse.
On Monday, the High Committee for Health Emergencies reported 26 new cases of coronavirus, including two deaths during the past 24 hours, bringing the number of cases to 92.
El Rashid Saeed, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information clarified that among the total of 92 cases, eight cases are recovering. The official death toll to date stands at 12.
Saeed confirmed that health workers in 13 hospitals within and outside Khartoum are staying at home due to the lack of PPE.
Sudan’s High Committee for Health Emergencies declared total lockdown for three weeks as of Saturday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.
During the 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.
Following the announcement of the lockdown last week, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok relieved Lt Gen Ahmed Abdoun, the military governor of Khartoum, from his position after he refused to ban group prayers in Khartoum mosques during the lockdown. Minister of Governance Yousef El Dei took over his position until the appointment of a new governor.
The Council of Ministers emphasised the necessity to adhere to the decision of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to temporarily suspend gatherings in places of worship in Khartoum.
The interim governor of Khartoum state, Yousef El Dei, does not rule out that he will gradually reduce the hours allowed for shopping if overcrowding in the residential districts continues. People are restricted to do their shopping in their own neighbourhood from 6 am until 1 pm. The major markets have been closed. Public transport has been banned. The lockdown measures will be evaluated in the coming three days, El Dei said.
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