War-Torn Yemen Confirms First Coronavirus Case
War-torn Yemen has confirmed its first coronavirus case on Friday in a southern government-controlled province, raising fears of an outbreak in the country.
The announcement came on the second day of the two-week ceasefire declared by the military coalition supporting the government in what it said was a move to help fight the pandemic.
“The first confirmed case of coronavirus has been reported in Hadramawt province,” Yemen’s supreme national emergency committee for COVID-19 said on Twitter.
The committee, run by the internationally recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, said the infected patient was in stable condition and receiving care.
“The case is in isolation and treatment, all known contacts are being traced and quarantined,” the World Health Organization said on Twitter.
“WHO is working closely with (the health ministry) to ensure further rapid containment measures are taken.”
Aid groups have warned that when the coronavirus hits Yemen’s broken healthcare system, the impact is likely to be catastrophic for a country already in the grip of what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
“This is a moment we all feared, and were hoping to avoid, because Yemen is critically under-equipped to face this virus,” said Xavier Joubert, country director for Save the Children in Yemen.
“Only half of Yemen’s health facilities are still fully functional. There are 700 intensive care unit beds, including 60 for children, and 500 ventilators for a population of about 30 million.”
“The COVID-19 crisis eclipses everything — the international community must step up efforts & work together to protect the Yemeni people,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted.