Yemen confirms first COVID-19 case; braces for outbreak

Yemen confirms first COVID-19 case; braces for outbreak

People shop at a market in the old quarter of Sanaa
People shop at a market in the old quarter of Sanaa, Yemen April 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

ADEN: Yemen reported its first COVID-19 on Friday (Apr 10) as aid groups try to prepare for an outbreak in a country where war has shattered the health system and spread hunger and disease.

The news came after a nationwide ceasefire began on Thursday over the virus pandemic. A Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Houthi movement announced it would halt military operations for two weeks, but the Houthis have yet to agree.

The case was diagnosed in the southern oil producing region of Hadhramout, the supreme national emergency committee said on its Twitter account.

"The individual is stable and receiving medical attention," it said, adding that authorities had taken necessary measures, but did not give details.

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The COVID-19 patient is a Yemeni working in the port of Ash Shihr, a local official told Reuters.

If the virus spreads in Yemen, the impact would be "catastrophic", as the health status of at least half the population is "very degraded" and the country does not have sufficient supplies, capabilities or facilities, its United Nations humanitarian coordinator, Lise Grande, told Reuters on Thursday.

Yemen has been mired in violence since the Houthi movement overthrew the government in the capital, Sanaa in late 2014, prompting the Saudi-led coalition to intervene.

The five year long conflict has killed more than 100,000 and pushed millions to the brink of famine.

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Source: Reuters

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