Sudan’s health minister says country needs $120m to fight coronavirus

Sudan's Minister of Health Akram Ali Altom speaks during a Reuters interview amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Khartoum, Sudan April 11, 2020. (File/Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
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Updated 12 April 2020

Sudan’s health minister says country needs $120m to fight coronavirus

  • Although Sudan has so far reported relatively few cases, the global outbreak has arrived at a time when it faces an economic crisis
  • The coronavirus outbreak is the latest epidemic to face Sudan, which has had to deal with outbreaks of cholera with a depleted infrastructure

KHARTOUM: Sudan urgently needs $120 million to fight the new coronavirus, the country’s health minister told Reuters on Saturday, amid a shortage of the equipment to fight the epidemic which has ravaged richer countries.
Although Sudan has so far reported relatively few cases, the global outbreak has arrived at a time when it faces an economic crisis.
“We are preparing a strategy to face coronavirus that extends until the end of June, but to execute it we urgently need $120 million to provide protective equipment for health care workers and to prepare health care facilities and advanced lab testing equipment,” said health minister Akram Ali Altom.
Altom serves in the civilian-led government which has run Sudan following a power-sharing agreement with the military signed in August. Exactly one year ago, months of protests brought down three-decade ruler Omar Al-Bashir.
Until now, Sudan has reported 19 confirmed coronavirus cases, including two deaths, but Altom said that “if it spreads, Sudan’s situation health-wise and economically means it cannot handle a large outbreak.”
Current capacity for beds with ventilators was just in the “hundreds,” he said. The coronavirus outbreak is the latest epidemic to face Sudan, which has had to deal with outbreaks of cholera with a depleted infrastructure.
Sudan began testing for those who arrived at its international airport in February. In March it closed all airports and border crossings to non-commercial traffic.
The government also imposed a twelve-hour curfew, shut down schools and universities, and banned events and gatherings. Some of its measures have been met with a lack of cooperation.
The minister said that his ministry has recommended a complete lockdown of the capital Khartoum for three weeks, as well as an increase in the number of quarantine centers and testing capacity.
A major barrier to any lockdown is likely to be the large number of Sudanese people who work in the informal economy.
The minister said that he expected that a new health emergency law would be introduced on Sunday.


Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises above 25,000

Updated 24 September 2020

Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises above 25,000

  • 3,521 new cases were identified in the last 24 hours in Iran

DUBAI: Iran’s death toll from the novel coronavirus rose by 175 to 25,015 on Thursday, the highest in the Middle East, with the total number of identified cases spiking to 436,319 in the country, according to health ministry. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 3,521 new cases were identified in the last 24 hours in Iran.