Government allocates additional funds, equipment to address coronavirus after first case confirmed

Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed announced in a speech on Saturday evening that the government will provide an additional five billion riyals (about $9 million) to health authorities to address the coronavirus pandemic, and immediately disburse 3,000 examination kits to Hadhramout, where the first case of the deadly virus was confirmed on Friday.

“From the very first moment of the outbreak of this epidemic worldwide, we were aware that we have a great responsibility because we are a country that depends primarily on imports,” the prime minister said on Saturday evening. “We knew that the option of a complete curfew was not an option to us as a country, however, we have stopped port traffic and visitors to and from Yemen, except for commercial traffic, and we have worked to ensure the safety conditions at the ports and the necessary crossings for the entry of food and basic goods to the country,” he said.

At an emergency meeting on Saturday, the cabinet approved the five billion riyal allocation as an additional support to the health sector to face the coronavirus epidemic. The Prime Minister said that all the necessary resources that are available, including to immediately provide 3,000 examination kits to the health authorities in Hadhramout to expand their screening procedures and focus on suspected cases.

The Supreme National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus, the body overseeing the government’s response to the pandemic, confirmed on Friday morning that the first case of coronavirus had been confirmed in eastern Yemen, in the coastal town of Al-Shehr, Hadhramout.

Deputy Health Minister Dr. Riyadh Al-Jariri, who also serves as director general of the Coastal Hadhramout Health Bureau and spokesman for the High Committee for Epidemics Control in Hadhramaut, said on Saturday that the coronavirus patient, a Yemeni national, was in stable condition.

In a press conference held Saturday afternoon at the Health Ministry’s office in the governorate capital Mukalla city, Dr. Al-Jariri said those who have been in contact with the infected person have since been divided into three categories: parents and relatives of the victim; employees at Al-Shehr port where he works; and medical staff who have been providing the necessary medical assistance.

“We followed the screening procedures to confirm any cases, according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on coronavirus,” he said, adding that health authorities in Hadhramout had taken preventative measures to prepare for the possibility of the virus spreading, and have since imposed curfews and disinfected areas where the victim had been present. A WHO delegation is scheduled to arrive in Hadhramout early this week, according to the deputy minister.




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