COVID-19 update: As first coronavirus cases emerge in Taiz, authorities take steps to contain the outbreak
Following the announcement of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Taiz governorate on Friday, Gov. Nabil Shamsan, who also heads the Taiz Emergency Committee to Confront COVID-19, has directed authorities to limit travel and take other measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
The first confirmed COVID-19 case in Taiz was announced on May 1, with a second confirmed case announced the following day.
A senior official in the local authority told Almasdar Online that following the announcement, military forces closed the main roads between Taiz, Lahj and Aden to its south, as well as the Al-Aqroudh route which links Taiz city to the Houthi-controlled Hawban area to the east on the road to Sana’a.
The governor also ordered prayers in mosques, including Friday prayer and those specific to the holy month of Ramadan, to be cancelled. However, local sources said some mosques in the city remained open and many worshippers were ignoring the ban. Many malls and markets, including those selling the mild narcotic qat, also remain open.
Residents of the Al-Jomhouri (Republican) neighborhood in Taiz city staged a vigil to demand the governor and local health office to move the COVID-19 quarantine center from its current location in the city’s Republican Hospital to an unpopulated area outside the city due to concerns that infections will spread to residents in the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, in Houthi-controlled Sana’a, authorities have called for urgent medical supplies to better detect and prepare for a potential outbreak of COVID-19. The Houthis’ Supreme Council for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (SCMCHA) said on Thursday that “the very small amount of PCR solutions used for testing coronavirus at the Ministry of Health in Sana'a is running out.”
SCMCHA said in a memorandum titled “Urgent Distress Call,” signed by the council's leader Abdulmohsen Tawoos, "We appeal to the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen, the World Health Organization and all organizations to intervene quickly and urgently, and provide at least 100,000 PCR scans, 15 PCR testing devices and 250,000 swabs."
“These life-saving emergency needs will enable the Ministry of Health to confront the COVID-19 virus, and we hold the international community and humanitarian organizations responsible for a humanitarian disaster in case the equipment is delayed or there is a failure to provide these needs,” the memo said.
The Houthis have not confirmed any COVID-19 cases in areas under their control, but two medical sources and a WHO official told Almasdar Online English this week that two confirmed cases have been recorded in Sana’a.
Editing by Alkhatab Alrawhani