Yemen declares Aden Covid-19 hotspot

Sanaa, May 11 (efe-epa).- Yemeni authorities on Monday declared Aden an epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the country after recording 35 confirmed cases, including four deaths, in the southern port city.

The country’s Supreme National Emergency Committee for Covid-19 said on Twitter the decision was taken following an outbreak of several diseases and fevers as a result of heavy rains and floods in Aden, the seat to the country’s Saudi-backed internationally-recognized government.

The committee also urged the international community to provide support in improving the Yemeni shattered health system to curb the spread of the infectious disease.

The movement to and from Aden has been suspended except for the transport of goods, according to the committee.

The war-torn country has reported 51 confirmed cases of the respiratory illness in the government-controlled areas so far, with a death toll that so far stands at eight.

Authorities have accused the Houthi rebel movement of covering up an outbreak in the capital Sanaa after reporting only two cases and one death there.

Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the virus was spreading across the country and could potentially affect 16 million people, more than half of the Yemeni population.

Coronavirus testing capabilities are very limited in Yemen as only four laboratories perform virus testing and just 7,000 tests have been distributed in the country, according to WHO.

Yemen has been devastated by war for more than five years as the government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, is fighting the Iran-linked Houthi rebels who took control of Sanaa and other parts of Yemen in 2014.

The conflict has damaged the health and education infrastructure and pushed the country to the verge of famine.

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