After COVID-19 cover-up, Houthis acknowledge spread and enact stricter measures

The Houthi authorities released a statement early Saturday listing nine measures for residents to abide by ahead of the Eid holiday in order to “address the risks of corona and confront it with greater awareness.” The move marks a shift in position by the group, which has been widely criticized for failing to prepare for the pandemic, and concerns continue that the move will be too little, too late to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Houthi-run Ministry of Health statement, which acknowledges the “emergence of cases in different parts of the country,” tells residents to only go outside when necessary, and to wear a mask when outside. The statement also calls on Yemenis to refrain from travel during Eid, to avoid shaking hands or other physical greetings, and to prevent children from receiving money or sweets – typical Eid gifts – due to the possibility of transmitting the virus.

The Houthis have been widely criticized for their delayed response to the COVID-19 crisis. Earlier in May, Almasdar Online English uncovered that Houthi authorities had concealed around 100 confirmed cases in Sana’a of the deadly virus, and had done so by intimidating doctors and other officials. 


The following is the text of the statement of Houthis Ministry of Health, translated by Almasdar Online English.


The Ministry of Public Health and Population offers the best congratulations to all our dear people of Yemeni on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr, asking the Almighty for a good holiday for all. As this holiday comes to us during exceptional health conditions, namely the emergence of the coronavirus epidemic and the emergence of cases in different parts of our country, the Ministry calls on everyone to cooperate to address the risks of corona and to face them with greater awareness and for unity in coping with this pandemic. The Ministry calls on all residents to abide by the precautionary measures that protect them from this epidemic, which are:

  1. It is necessary to wear a mask when leaving the house, and not to leave the house except for necessities.

  2. Spend Eid days at home between your children and your family, and greet others by phone or social media.

  3. Not to move between governorates and districts or travel for Eid holidays.

  4. Full commitment not to shake hands, hug, or kiss, and only greet verbally.

  5. Avoid traffic, especially in the markets, qat markets, and take care to keep a distance of at least a meter with others.

  6. Avoid visiting public entertainment venues and parks.

  7. Stay away from social gatherings such as men's and women's gatherings.

  8. No gatherings in streets and neighborhoods.
    This applies to villages as well as to cities.

  9. Preventing children from taking Eidya (money) due to the possibility of spreading the virus through paper currency and preventing them from visiting the homes of their neighbors and relatives to obtain treats and the sweets of eid as is the customs of our society on such occasions.



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