COVID-19 update: Aden and Taiz run out of testing kits as suspected COVID-19 cases soar in Yemen
Medical facilities in Aden and Taiz have run out of COVID-19 test kits, an official in the government’s National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus told Almasdar Online on Friday, as the number of deaths from unconfirmed causes spikes in Aden.
Yemen’s National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus reported 18 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, including 10 cases in Aden governorate and six cases in Lahj governorate, and three deaths. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 122 in government-controlled territory, with only four additional COVID-19 cases officially acknowledged by the Houthis in areas under their control, two of which were announced by the Sana’a-based Ministry of Health on Saturday morning.
However, the real number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen is believed to be much larger. In Houthi-controlled territories, Almasdar Online has uncovered an extensive and coordinated effort by the de-facto authorities to conceal over 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
In Aden, the daily death rate for all causes of death has spiked manifold, and the head of the government department tasked with issuing burial permits in Yemen’s interim capital of Aden announced that his department had logged more than 600 deaths from largely unknown cases in the first two weeks of May.
Medical professionals and health officials say they do not have sufficient equipment or capacity to properly test suspected cases, and many individuals suspected of being infected with COVID-19 have reportedly been turned away from hospitals in Aden and other governorates.
On Friday, an official in the government’s National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus told Almasdar Online that medical facilities, including quarantine centers, in Aden and Taiz governorates have run out of COVID-19 testing kits.
The official appealed to the World Health Organization (WHO) to swiftly hand over a share of the testing supplies that had arrived in Sana’a earlier in the week, in order for them to be used in Aden and Taiz, and called for a reassessment of the distribution method for coronavirus testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers in quarantine centers, based on the needs of each governorate.
“Since the ability to conduct COVID-19 detection tests in Yemen is very limited, it is impossible to know the full extent of the spread of the virus,” Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said in a statement on Friday.
The international NGO, which runs the COVID-19 treatment centre in Al-Amal Hospital in Aden, added that “what we see in Aden is that some people come to the hospital late, making their treatment more difficult.”
Edited by Alkhatab Alrawhani