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Sudan maintains partial lockdown despite eighth coronavirus case

Passengers from an international flight are given a temperature screening at Juba airport 31 January 2020 (AFP photo)April 2, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government decided, Thursday, to gradually put the whole country under lockdown saying the spread of the respiratory disease will determine the restrictive measures.

Sudanese council of minister held an extra-ordinary meeting on Thursday to discuss the spread of the coronavirus in the country as the health ministry announced the eighth confirmed case of COVID-19.

Also, It is the first case transmitted by a Sudanese who was abroad to a permanent resident who was in contact with him after his return.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, the government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh told reporters the meeting was briefed by the health minister and the advisory board of his ministry about the different strategies to deal with the pandemic.

All the measures proposed by the ministry are based on a preventive approach and proactive steps to cope with the poor health situation in Sudan and anticipate the spread of the respiratory disease in the country, Saleh said.

"There were calls for a complete lockdown but the cabinet decided that this should be done in stages as the country cannot go directly into the total lockdown due to the lack of preparedness in so many areas that we have to take into account," he added.

So, the government decided to maintain the partial lockdown and to increase the hours of the daily curfew in line with the spread of the disease in the country until to reach the 24 hours lockdown, he said.

As of 24 March, the government imposed a partial lockdown from 08.00 pm to 06.00 am.

People can go to work and reach markets normally despite the closure of schools and universities, as well as travel ban among other restrictive measures.

The information minister said the government is considering, now, ways to ensure the flow of goods and commodities in the country and the channels of distribution to avoid food shortage, hinting that it was one of the reasons that led the government to maintain the partial lockdown.

For its part, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Sarah Abdel Azim, announced that the eighth case is now in an isolation centre and that all follow-up procedures are being implemented with other people who were in contact with the new case.

Medical sources told Sudan Tribune that the newly infected patient is a doctor who was in contact with the sixth case who arrived from the UAE on 13 March.

On Wednesday, the Sudanese Minister of Health expected the spread of Coronavirus in the country after the detection of seven confirmed cases.