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Yemen: Concerns Over Inability to Face COVID-19 After First Suspected Case

Yemen: Concerns Over Inability to Face COVID-19 After First Suspected Case

Monday, 6 April, 2020 - 07:15
KSRelief clinics continue to provide medical treatments and health care services in Yemen’s Al-Khokha directorate. (SPA)
Jeddah- Abdul Hadi Habtoor

Many Yemenis are now worried and scared in light of circulating reports claiming the presence of several cases of coronavirus in the country.


Until now, the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the Yemeni Health Ministry confirm there are still no reported cases of COVID-19 in Yemen.


Torn by over five years of war and instability, Yemen lacks even the basic supplies to confront this pandemic and therefore, it would easily be overwhelmed if hit by the virus.


Last Saturday, Yemeni authorities forced a truck driver to return from the Shahen land port, near the Oman border, after suspecting he was infected with the virus. The authorities were unable to confirm the case given the absence of test kits.


The Shahen land port informed al-Mahrah's governor in a statement, of which Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy, about its decision to halt activities at the port until the administration is provided with the necessary sanitizing equipment, a professional medical team, and a place to quarantine suspected cases.


The statement added that workers demanded taking measures that guarantee their safety while performing their job.


In a related context, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) continues, in coordination with WHO and the Yemeni legitimate government, to send medical equipment to Yemeni government-controlled and Houthi-controlled areas, to held face a possible coronavirus outbreak.


While fears mount before the first case is found in the country, several clinics and hospitals in the temporary capital of Aden refused to receive any suspected cases of coronavirus.


One local resident, Zein Abdeen, said: “An Aden resident suffers from asthma which has the same symptoms as the flu. What would happen if this man gets sick now? Will hospitals refuse to treat him? This is unacceptable. I might commit a crime.”


Last week, the World Bank announced a $26.9 million grant to finance a new emergency project designed to strengthen Yemen’s fragile systems for public health preparedness, including the detection, containment, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.


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