Houthis report 1st coronavirus case in rebel-held Yemen

Sanaa, May 5 (efe-epa).- COVID-19 continues to spread in war-torn Yemen as nine new cases have been detected in the government-held areas, while the Houthis reported the first positive for coronavirus.

A Somali was found dead at a Sanaa hotel and later tests revealed he had contracted the virus, the Houthi Health Minister Taha al-Mutawakil said during a press conference on Tuesday.

The hotel was shut down and the people who were in contact with the Somali have been traced by the authorities, the minister added.

Thousands of Somali refugees use Yemen as a stop on their way to Saudi Arabia and Europe.

They arrive on smugglers’ boats to Yemeni shores and head to Sanaa and on to the Saudi border The minister urged people to avoid markets and gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus, which was first detected in the country on 10 April by the internationally recognized, Aden-based Yemeni government.

Although the first patient, a dock worker in the southern town of Al Sheher, has recovered and discharged from the hospital, more infections have been reported.

The Yemeni government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi on Tuesday reported nine fresh cases, bringing the total tally to 21 infections, including three deaths.

The World Health Organization warned on 2 May: “we anticipate the virus is actively circulating throughout the country. ”

“Since the declaration of the pandemic, we have been presenting various evidence-based scenarios to ensure that health authorities have the full picture of how this virus may potentially affect 16 million men, women and children who make up over 50 percent of the population,” the report added.

The Yemeni health infrastructure was severely hit by a five-year-long war and it suffers a shortage of soap, disinfectants, face masks and current water in some areas.

Nearly 80 percent of Yemen’s 30 million inhabitants require humanitarian aid to cover their basic needs.

The Arab country faces the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the United Nations. EFE-EPA


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