Although no confirmed cases of coronavirus have been officially registered in Yemen, the internationally-recognized government has called on its citizens not to take lightly the virus that has spread in the world.
“The seriousness of this virus must not be underestimated in light of its rapid spread, the lack of a vaccine and the absence of a working treatment,” Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik said, stressing that Yemen’s healthcare system has been bogged down by war, conflict, and limited resources.
He urged people to band together to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the war-torn country.
Abdulmalik referred to the measures taken by his government in the past days. Yemen’s government has recently closed schools for one week, grounded planes, closed land and sea crossings, and deployed 11 health teams at sea, land, and air entry points to test arrivals. Commercial convoys are still being allowed into Yemen.
Yemen’s Health Ministry will also allocate an “emergency budget” of one billion Yemeni riyals ($4 million) to support the health sector and enable it to implement the precautionary and preventative measures to protect the country from the spread of the coronavirus.
The prime minister said that as many as 50,000 Yemenis who have returned since Jan. 18 have been tested for the virus, consuming all the virus tests in the country’s stocks.
“We are counting a lot on support from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to overcome this pandemic,” Abdulmalik said.
On the other hand, the prime minister urged Houthis to scrap their ban on new banknotes to allow the government in Aden to lifeline funds to health facilities in Sanaa and other provinces in northern Yemen.
Iran-backed Houthis imposed a ban on recently printed banknotes, sparking a series of crises, including a severe cash crunch. Local exchange companies that disperse government salaries inside Houthi-controlled territories said they could not pay due to limited cash.