Escapees include a group of people returning from Saudi Arabia who were supposed to be quarantined for two weeks
Coronavirus patients escape enforced quarantine in Taiz and Hadhramout
Coronavirus updates from around Yemen on Wednesday include quarantine escapees in Taiz and Hadhramout, curfews in Al-Mahra, a spike in unattributable deaths in Aden and Houthi suppression of confirmed cases in Sana’a.
Houthi authorities have concealed approximately 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, according to seven sources including multiple doctors, a coronavirus testing technician, a medical professional and an international aid worker.
The unreported infections, which dwarf the two cases publicly revealed in Sana'a, were suppressed through intimidation by Houthi authorities, according to the sources, all of whom spoke to Almasdar Online on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution.
Dr. Abdul Ghani Al-Masni, director of the Shafak Center of the Sheikh Hammoud Saeed Al-Mekhlafi Foundation, said on Facebook that a patient escaped the facility with the help of armed men. Al-Masni said the escape was reported to the epidemiological surveillance team, which is tasked with tracing COVID-19 patients and testing those who may have come in contact with those patients.
A group of people returning from Saudi Arabia to Yemen who were supposed to be quarantined for two weeks in Al-Wadee’ah port also fled quarantine.Al-MahraIn Al-Mahra on Wednesday, the governorate’s emergency COVID-19 committee approved a number of precautionary measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, including a curfew.
In a meeting chaired by Gov. Mohammed Ali Yasser, the committee approved a daily curfew and closure of shops starting May 14 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
On Tuesday, Dr. Awad Mubarak, director of the Ministry of Health’s local office in Al-Mahra, announced the governorate’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. The patient is stable and receiving medical care, and response teams are following up with any people the patient may have been in contact with for testing and quarantine, Mubarak said.
In Aden, the head of the Civil Status Department, Maj. Gen. Sanad Jamil, said the number of deaths attributable to one of a number of diseases circulating in the governorate reached 76 on Tuesday. In addition to coronavirus, there are also outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever and other preventable diseases.
Since mid-April, hundreds of people including four government officials have died in Aden from fevers and symptoms common to coronavirus and some of the other diseases.. Without large-scale testing, it has not been possible to pinpoint the cause of many of these deaths.
Jamil, who has been revealing the death tolls of the governorate daily, said that beginning May 13, his department will submit the reports directly to the Health Ministry and its local office in Aden.
In many cases, the Civil Status Department has not provided information about the causes of death. Nor has the government body provided death rates of previous periods, making it difficult to put current rates in context.
Jamil explained that burial permits have been issued based on 61 requests from police stations, which did not know the causes of death. Private hospitals and quarantine facilities issued 14 requests for burial permits, and the criminal investigations department issued one request.
The national committee for coronavirus has declared Aden an “infested city” on May 10 and appealed to humanitarian aid organizations, donors and the international community to provide urgently-needed support to Aden’s health sector. At least three hospitals in Aden have closed since the coronavirus outbreak hit the city. Reasons cited for the closures include shortages of personal protection equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves and gowns, as well as a shortage of staff trained to deal with the virus.
Edited by Ahlam Mohsen and Casey Coombs