Yemen confirms first coronavirus case; outbreak expected

yemen confirms first coronavirus case

On Friday, Yemen confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus as aid agencies seek to brace for an epidemic in a country where conflict has destroyed the health care system and spread poverty and disease.

The news came after a national truce over the virus pandemic started Thursday.

A Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi movement declared that it would suspend two weeks of military operations, but the Houthis have yet to consent.

The case has been identified in Hadhramout’s southern oil-producing area, the supreme national emergency committee said on their Twitter account.

“The patient is safe and getting medical treatment [from] the medical teams,” he said, adding that the authorities have taken the required measures, but have not provided specifics.

The patient is a Yemeni who works in Ash Shihr harbor, a local official told Reuters.

Unless the virus spreads in Yemen, the effects will be “catastrophic,” as the health status of at least half the population is “very deteriorated” and the nation lacks adequate resources, capabilities or facilities, its UN humanitarian coordinator, Lise Grande, told Reuters on Thursday.

Since the Houthi movement toppled the government in the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014, Yemen is mired in bloodshed, leading the Saudi-led coalition to intervene.

More than 100,000 died in the five-year-old war and forced millions to the verge of famine.

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