Houthis Suspend Fighter Visitations amid COVID-19 Spike
Houthi militia leader Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi ordered halting visitation for Houthi fighters amid the unprecedented outbreak of the coronavirus in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and its spread to other northern governorates.
Sources close to the Houthi militias confirmed that Houthi supervisors suspended vacations for fighters until further notice. The coronavirus had spread near battlefronts, especially in Amran and Saada governorates, which are considered highly strategic for Houthi logistics. The virus has also spread to Ibb and Ad Dali' governorates.
For his part, member of the militia executive office Qasim Al-Hamran said that it was decided to send only gifts and convoys to the fronts, while preventing visitation. Gifts here are funds extorted from civilians in Houthi-run areas.
In other news, Al-Houthi also ordered the dispatch of tribal reinforcements to battlefronts. This followed reports of a number of senior Houthi leaders being wounded.
On Twitter, Yemenis reported that the Houthi-appointed health minister, Taha al-Mutawakel, was infected with the coronavirus. Houthis have called for Mutawakel’s dismissal over him covering up the actual data on virus cases in Sanaa.
The directors of two private hospitals in Sanaa said that Mutawakel had ordered private hospitals to receive suspected coronavirus cases after public hospitals and facilities owned by Houthis had reached their maximum capacity.
Hospital officials, however, warned that the decision will transform private hospitals to epicenters for the virus despite all precautionary measures taken.
According to the Houthi directive, which Asharq Al-Awsat obtained a copy of, private hospitals are forced to welcome all cases, including suspected coronavirus cases. They are also required to provide diagnostic services and treatment.
For suspected coronavirus cases, the hospitals were asked to offer intensive care units.
The COVID-19 virus is rapidly spreading in northern Yemen and the response of Houthi authorities – to publicly deny this reality and silence those who contradict them – has ensured vastly more Yemenis will needlessly suffer and die in the months to come.