COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen
|Arrival date||10 April 2020|
(10 months, 2 weeks and 6 days)
|Origin||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Confirmed cases||87 (includes Houthi-held areas)|
|13 (includes Houthi-held areas)|
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.
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.
Timeline[edit source | edit]
April 2020[edit source | edit]
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.
May 2020[edit source | edit]
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.
Statistics[edit source | edit]
|COVID-19 Cases Reported in Yemeni Governorates|
|Amanat Al Asimah||2||0||1|
Prevention[edit source | edit]
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.
References[edit source | edit]
- "'It is still a mystery': War-hit Yemen struggles to trace COVID-19 infection". Reuters. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- Ghobari, Muhammad. "War-ravaged Yemen confirms first coronavirus case, braces for more". Reuters. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- "Yemen 'faces nightmare' as virus case confirmed". BBC News. 10 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
- Shaker, Naseh (25 March 2020). "WHO warns Yemen of pending 'explosion' of COVID-19 cases". Al-Monitor. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
- "COVID-19: Impact on Yemen". ACAPS. 23 March 2020. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
- Almutawakel, Radhya. "Yemen: First bombs, soon a coronavirus epidemic". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
- "Yemen 'faces nightmare' as first coronavirus case confirmed". BBC. 11 April 2020. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- "Yemen reports first two deaths from coronavirus". Reuters. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
- "Yemen reports first two coronavirus deaths, braces for more". Reuters. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
- "Yemen records first coronavirus case in Taiz province as virus spreads". Reuters. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Three new coronavirus cases in Yemen bring total confirmed to 10". Reuters. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
- "Yemen records two new coronavirus cases in Hadhramout". Reuters. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
- "Yemen's Houthis report first coronavirus case with death in Sanaa hotel". Reuters. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Yemen reports first three coronavirus cases, one death in Lahaj province". Reuters. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Yemen reports nine new coronavirus cases in Aden, two more deaths". Reuters. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
- "Yemen's Houthis report new case of coronavirus in Sanaa". Reuters. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
- "Yemen's Houthis suspend int'l flights over COVID-19 concerns – Xinhua". www.xinhuanet.com. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
- "Preparing for the arrival of Covid-19 in Yemen". ACTED. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
- "As coronavirus spreads, U.N. seeks Yemen urgent peace talks resumption". Reuters. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
- "Ceasefire begins in Yemen to help combat virus". BBC News. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.