According to one doctor, approximately 40 people in Aden-area hospitals have died in the last five days and none of them were tested for COVID-19
Amid coronavirus fears and hospital shutdowns in Aden, doctors and residents can’t explain new deaths
Medical staff and residents in Yemen's interim capital of Aden told Almasdar Online that more than 20 people died in the governorate between Sunday morning and Monday morning, as fear of the coronavirus, lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) and a shortage of trained medical staff has led to at least three hospital closings.
The unexplained deaths – which follow multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Aden, including two deaths – were counted in Al-Buraihi, Saber, Al-Jumhuriya, Al-Masafi and Al-Sadaqa hospitals, as well as in a number of clinics in Al-Mansoura and Al-Sheikh Othman districts, according to doctors and residents.
In addition to those cases, residents told Almasdar Online that others with suspected COVID-19 symptoms died at home after being rushed to closed hospitals, or leaving hospitals due to a lack of screening equipment.
Local sources, including one doctor, had previously told Almasdar Online that three hospitals in Aden shut their doors after the announcement of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Some did so right away while others closed when their medical staff walked out or did not show up for their shifts.
Doctors said that most of the more than 20 new deaths had COVID-19 symptoms, including shortness of breath and severe respiratory infections. However, relatives of two patients who passed away on Sunday told Almasdar Online that their relatives had gastrointestinal issues and high fevers. One doctor who was not authorized to speak to the press told Almasdar Online that there have been many other patients who have died with symptoms that weren't strongly associated with the virus.
Recent floods in Aden have created the conditions for mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria to spread, while at the same time polluting water supplies and making it easier for residents to contract water-borne illness like cholera.
According to another doctor, approximately 40 people in Aden-area hospitals have died in the last five days and none of them had been tested for COVID-19.
The Health Ministry has not commented on the suspected causes of the recent deaths in Aden. Nor has it made any statement concerning the shuttered hospitals, which have called for more PPE like gloves and face masks, as well as additional trained personnel and support to handle COVID-19 patients.
While health authorities are sticking with confirmed cases for their tallies, journalists and activists in Aden have been documenting deaths by counting new burials in the city's cemeteries and by communicating with medical staff.
Edited by Ahlam Mohsen and Casey Coombs