Yemen reports first Covid-19 deaths

Sanaa, Apr 30 (efe-epa).- Two people have died from Covid-19 in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, the health minister of the internationally-recognized government said on Thursday.

“Five people have tested positive for coronavirus, including two deaths,” Minister Nasser Ba’aoum told Yemen’s state television that broadcasts from the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The five cases were recorded Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections to six.

The war-torn country had reported its first coronavirus case in the eastern province of Hadramaut almost three weeks ago. The patient left the hospital this week after recovering from the respiratory disease.

Ba’aoum said all confirmed cases were tested twice since dozens of people suffer from dengue fever and Chikungunya in Aden, diseases that have similar symptoms to Covid-19, including fever and shortness of breath.

The Aden-based separatist group Southern Transitional Council declared a three-day 24-hour curfew in the province set to kick off Thursday midnight to fend off the spread of the virus, which first emerged in China.

It also ordered the shutdown of markets, shopping centers, restaurants and mosques for a period of two weeks, as well as the closure of all land crossings leading to all the southern provinces.

Only food, fuel and humanitarian aid will be allowed in these areas.

Yemen was the last Arab country to announce coronavirus cases on its territory, but the United Nations warned two days ago of “a very real probability” that the infectious disease could be spreading in the country undetected.

According to the World Health Organization, only three laboratories are prepared for the coronavirus in Yemen and so far only 7,000 tests have been distributed in the country, with more than 30,000 additional tests expected to arrive soon.

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