COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen
The first confirmed case relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen was announced on 10 April 2020 with an occurrence in Hadhramaut. Organizations called the news a "devastating blow" and a "nightmare scenario" given the country's already dire humanitarian situation.
|COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen|
confirmed cases by governorate as of 22nd May 2020
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Arrival date||10 April 2020|
(1 month, 2 weeks and 6 days)
|Confirmed cases||207 (includes Houthi-held areas)|
|Recovered||6 (includes Houthi-held areas)|
|34 (includes Houthi-held areas)|
The country is seen to be extremely vulnerable to the outbreak, given the dire humanitarian situation due to the Yemeni Civil War, exacerbated by the ongoing famine, cholera outbreaks, and military blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies. The Yemeni healthcare system has been "all but decimated" by the war, with many healthcare facilities destroyed by airstrikes and shelling and a lack of healthcare workers.
The first case was confirmed on 10 April, the patient was a 60-year-old man in the southern oil-producing region of Hadhramaut. He remains in stable condition. Authorities have since sealed off the port where the man worked and told other employees to self-isolate for two weeks. The neighbouring regions of Shabwah and al-Mahrah sealed their borders with Hadhramaut, where a 12-hour nightly curfew has been imposed.
On 23 April, Hadramout Governor Faraj Salmin Al-Bahsni said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television that the result of the last examination the person had undergone on 22 April after he recovered was negative.
Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters there has been at least one confirmed case in Houthi-controlled Sanaa, but the movement’s health ministry denied this and said all suspected cases had tested negative for COVID-19.
On 2 May, three more cases were confirmed, one in Taiz Governorate and two in Aden city. The new case in Taiz had been in contact with the southwestern province's first infection.
On 4 May, two new cases were reported in Hadhramaut.
On 5 May, the government in the south reported 9 new infections, eight in Aden, along with one new death and one case in Hadhramaut. The Houthis reported their first case, a Somali national, who was found dead in a hotel in Sanaa on 3 May.
On 6 May, Yemen reported its first three cases, including a death in Lahij Governorate and another infection in Aden. The emergency coronavirus committee of Yemen’s Saudi-backed government also said one COVID-19 patient diagnosed earlier in Taiz province had died.
On 8 May, Yemen reported nine new coronavirus cases in Aden, the interim headquarters of the government, including one death, and said a second person infected in the southern province of Lahaj had died.
On 9 May, a new case of coronavirus was discovered in Sanaa, which was transmitted from Aden, Houthi's health ministry said in a statement.
On 28 May, a statement from the United Nations and its agencies outlined the dire impact COVID-19 had on Yemenis. Yemen's embattled health care system is near collapse due to the addition strain from COVID-19. Only half of health facilities are in operation, with most lacking personal protective equipment (PPE), oxygen supplies, and clean water. Most health-workers and front-line aid workers are reportedly working without protective equipment and salaries. A press release from the United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF) indicated that another 5 million children had been put out of school due to school closures, adding to the already 2 million children who were out of school prior to the pandemic.
|COVID-19 Cases Reported in Yemeni Governorates|
|Amanat Al Asimah||2||0||1|
As a response to the growing threat, the Houthis declared the suspension of international flights on 15 March. Yemeni officials also stepped up to battle against the threat from the coronavirus.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said on 26 March that it would partially suspend its operations in Houthi rebel-held areas because of restrictions imposed by the rebels. As a result, Oxfam America declared it would be forced to end services critical to coronavirus prevention, including hygiene promotion and primary health care.
After urging from the United Nations to pursue peace talks, the Saudi-led coalition in the civil war called a unilateral ceasefire beginning 9 April at noon, to support efforts to stop the virus's spread.
After the second case in Taiz Governorate was announced, the governor of Taiz announced on 2 May that he was closing the province's borders for two weeks, with the exception of supplies of food and other essential goods, in order to prevent the virus from spreading.
On 6 May, the United States announced it will provide $225 million in emergency aid to Yemen to support food programs, and called on the Houthis to do more to allow aid operations to operate “independently and neutrally”. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a news conference that the funding Washington is committing will go to the U.N. World Food Program’s emergency food operation in southern Yemen, as well as its reduced operation in northern Yemen.
On 28 May, the United Nations and 16 other international humanitarian partners launched an emergency appeal to find $2.41 Billion USD to fight COVID-19 in Yemen. Although only 10 of the nation's 22 governorates have reported confirmed cases at this time, a statement from the international humanitarian community indicated that the virus had already impacted most areas of the country. 30 of the 41 major UN Programs in Yemen are at risk of running out of money in the next few weeks if addition funding cannot be found.
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