The UN is concerned that the virus has been circulating undetected

COVID-19 update: UN “deeply concerned” by potential rapid spread of coronavirus in Yemen

The UN released a statement Tuesday raising alarm about the potential spread of the coronavirus in Yemen. Yemen’s single confirmed case of COVID-19 was declared in Hadhramout governorate on April 10. Since then, no other cases have been reported.

“Since the first confirmed COVID case, we have warned that the virus is now in Yemen and may quickly spread,” said Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “The factors are all here. Low levels of general immunity, high levels of acute vulnerability and a fragile, overwhelmed health system.”

The UN is concerned that the virus has been circulating undetected.

“There’s no time to lose. People have to be informed accurately and quickly about what is happening so they can do what’s necessary to protect themselves and their families,” said Grande.

On Thursday, Al-Monitor reported that there were four suspected COVID-19 cases the first week of April that were placed into isolation at the Movenpick Hotel in Sana’a. Al-Monitor cited a medical professional handling the cases who declined to be named out of fear of retaliation by the Houthis. 

Two unnamed sources told Reuters Monday that there is at least one confirmed case in Sana’a.

Yemen’s health infrastructure has already been shattered by five years of war, with only about half of its health facilities currently functioning. With 10 million people a step away from famine, according to the UN, medical professionals worry what the spread of COVID-19 would do to Yemen’s already devastated population. Eighty percent of Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance.


Edited by Ahlam Mohsen and Casey Coombs



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