Sudan closes schools and bans gatherings after first coronavirus death

Public gatherings, including weddings and social events, are also now banned

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Sudan has closed schools and universities for a month from Saturday to slow the spread of the coronavirus after the first death was reported in the country.

The statement from Khartoum announcing the closure of schools also said all public gatherings, including weddings and social events, were now forbidden.

On Friday, the government announced the first death in Sudan but the potential spread has raised fears in a country grappling with a major economic crisis and a ravaged healthcare system that is in desperate need of investment after 30 years of former dictator Omar Al Bashir’s rule.

Sudanese Health Minister Akram Ali Al-Tom speaks during a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, March. 13, 2020. Sudan reported its first case of the coronavirus , a person who had already died. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

Even before the pandemic began, the World Health Organisation highlighted the severe challenges to Sudan’s healthcare sector.

The body is already helping to address the medical needs of people displaced from conflicts in Darfur and elsewhere.

It has been sharing advice to slow the spread of the virus, officially known as Covid-19, to help contain the disease.