STC is also closing mosques and banning congregational prayers for two weeks, and urging sheikhs and imams to help educate people about the need to abide by the prohibitions

COVID-19 update: STC orders curfew, qat ban in response to new coronavirus cases

The Southern Transitional Council (STC), which announced self-administration in southern Yemen on Saturday, ordered several measures on Wednesday to counter the spread of coronavirus in Aden following the confirmation of five cases by the Ministry of Health.

The council ordered a three-day curfew starting at midnight on Wednesday, as well as the closure of qat markets and the ban on the leafy narcotic’s entry and sale in areas under the STC’s control. 

The STC also ordered the closure of land ports, but made exceptions for the entry of essential goods, fuel and food commodities. The STC closed shopping malls for two weeks, while ordering essential businesses to remain open, including grocery stores and hotels that comply with health guidelines. 

Other measures include: 

- Allowing restaurants to remain open only for takeaway for the next two weeks. 

- Closing mosques and banning congregational prayers for two weeks, and urging sheikhs and imams to help educate people about the need to abide by the prohibitions.

- Increasing awareness through social media on how to prevent coronavirus,the necessity of social isolation and the publication of emergency numbers to report any suspected cases of the virus.

- Coordination with the Chamber of Commerce to identify commodity sources for traders and set fixed prices for goods. It also called for these prices to be published so they are known to consumers. 

- Identifying the quantities of essential items needed in Aden and what can be spared to other governorates, as well as determining who is responsible for the disbursement of permits for their transportation.

- Determining the appropriate tariffs for goods through coordination by the transport office and transport union with the Chamber of Commerce and the Industry office.

- Coordination with wholesalers to reserve particular quantities of goods to meet needs for southern Yemen before exporting goods abroad. 

The STC had first banned the entry of qat and its sale on April 11, one day after the confirmation of Yemen’s first coronavirus case in the port town Al-Sheher in Hadhramout governorate. The STC reversed its decision two days later, following clashes between the STC-aligned Security Belt Forces (SBF) and the Second Giants Brigade that left two dead and seven injured. 

Clashes between the soldiers started after the SBF chased a motorcycle driver suspected of smuggling qat into an abandoned building, leading the SBF to inadvertently open fire on forces belonging to the Second Giants Brigade, who were stationed at the site. 

All but two of eight southern governorates, Aden and Al-Dhale, rejected the STC’s declaration of self-administration over southern Yemen. The STC, which has effective control over three governorates – Aden, Al-Dhale and Lahj – will face difficulties implementing its decisions throughout the rest of southern Yemen, particularly the ban on qat. 


Edited by Ahlam Mohsen and Casey Coombs



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