Sudan’s Khartoum State and its eponymous capital city will be locked down for three weeks from April 18, Information Minister Faisal Saleh said on Monday evening.
The lockdown order came after Health Minister Karam Al-Tom announced the country has recorded ten new confirmed cases of coronavirus.
“The increasing numbers of the infections and the confirmed cases indicate that Sudan reached a stage of community spread,” Al-Tom said on April 13.
In response, the government has decided to step up coronavirus curbs by shuttering Khartoum, a city of approximately 5 million people located at the intersection of the Blue and the White Nile.
Authorities from Sudan’s most populous state said citizens will have until Saturday to prepare themselves for the confinement.
“Unfortunately, the announcement of the increasing numbers every day for confirmed cases, indicate that our country experiencing an advanced stage of the spread of the pandemic, a stage that requires concerted official and popular efforts to overcome this ordeal with the minimum damage,” the Khartoum state health minister said in a statement published by state-sponsored Sudan News Agency (SUNA) on April 13.
The Ministry of Culture and Information said via its Twitter account that further details about the lockdown conditions would be provided in coming days.
A total of 29 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Sudan and four people have died from the virus.
Sudan is already in the midst of a nationwide coronavirus curfew that has left airports shuttered and restricts inter-city bus travel. $120 million is needed to upgrade the country’s ailing medical facilities and purchase essential COVID-19 equipment such as ventilators, the health minister told Reuters on April 11.