There are at least five official cases in the southern port city, as authorities declare three days of curfew. The mosques closed until further notice; two week closure of restaurants and shopping centers. The Houthi, who control Sana'a, deny the presence of the virus. For experts, the disease is circulating undercurrent.
Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The first two confirmed victims of the new coronavirus have been registered in Yemen. The news came from the state television late yesterday evening; the health authorities also added that "multiple" cases of infections occurred, for a total of five people infected to date. However, international experts fear that the virus may be far more widespread and that, in recent weeks, it has been circulating undercover in a nation where millions of people suffer from hunger and lack of medical treatment.
The new infections occurred in the port city of Aden, in the south of the country, where the provisional government recognized by the international community is based. In response, local authorities have declared a 24-hour curfew for three days.
The first (and only) confirmed case of Covid-19 dates back to April 10. In recent weeks, international humanitarian organizations have raised the alarm for the disastrous repercussions of a coronavirus epidemic in the Arab nation, where since 2015 there has been a war between government supported by Saudis and Houthi rebels close to Iran. A conflict that provoked the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world", on which the new coronavirus pandemic would have "devastating" effects.
The authorities in Aden say they have identified the "patient zero", an important step (if confirmed) in order to contain the pandemic. In fact, only two days earlier, UN experts had spoken of "great probability" that the virus has been circulating within communities for some time.
According to some anonymous sources, speaking to Reuters, there is at least one confirmed case of contagion in the capital Sana'a, controlled by the Houthi rebels. However, the local Ministry of Health denies the presence of the virus stating that all suspect cases tested so far have resulted negative to Covid-19.
To counter the pandemic, the Aden authorities have imposed the city mosques be closed until further notice; restaurants and shopping centers will be closed for the next two weeks. The markets that sell qat, the green leaf stimulant that all Yemeni chew as a tradition, will remain closed in all southern governorates and the sale will be prohibited in and around the main cities. Wholesalers are required to store a certain quantity of goods to be used as stocks and reserves, before they can proceed with export abroad.