The public cleaning campaign followed news reports that the number of actual coronavirus infections in Sana’a dwarfs official statistics
Houthis disinfect shopping centers in bid to calm COVID-19 fears
On Thursday, Houthi authorities instructed markets and shopping malls in the capital Sana’a to close temporarily for sterilization, as part of safety measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Abdulwahab Sharaf Al-Din, who heads the Houthi-run Technical Committee for Combating Epidemics, announced the deployment of the sterilization crews.
"The committee will take strict measures against those who prove their negligence and endanger the health and safety of the community," he told the Houthi branch of Saba news agency.
The closures followed two news reports on Wednesday that the number of coronavirus infections in Sana’a dwarf official statistics. Almasdar Online reported that approximately 100 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Sana’a as of May 12. Reuters reported that the test results for at least 80 patients exhibiting coronavirus symptoms at Kuwait Hospital and Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Sana’a had not been shared with the World Health Organization (WHO). Houthi officials have revealed only two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the capital.
On Friday, the internationally recognized government’s National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus announced 21 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide to 108 (including the two cases in Sana’a). The same day, Aden and Lahj governorates ran out of testing supplies, according to a source on the committee, which asked WHO to urgently release testing swabs and solution that arrived in Sana’a three days ago.
Editing by Casey Coombs