Yemen’s coronavirus-related death rate is the highest in the world

UN: Yemen coronavirus fatality rate is nearly 25 percent 

In a report released this week, the UN highlighted Yemen’s “alarmingly high” COVID-19 fatality rate of nearly 25 percent. 

Yemen’s coronavirus-related death rate – which eclipses the world’s next-highest rates in Belgium (16.2 percent), France (15.3 percent) and Italy (14.5 percent) – is based on a comparatively small sample size, given the limited number of tests conducted in the war-torn country.

The rate was calculated based on data from Yemen’s National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus, which reported 486 COVID-19 cases, including 112 deaths, between April 10 and June 6. The fatality rates of European countries, by contrast, are based on hundreds of thousands of infections and tens of thousands of deaths.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNCHA) report said that more than 75 percent of the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Yemen are men between the ages of 45 and 59. This demographic is also most likely to die of the novel coronavirus. 

"Individuals with mild and moderate symptoms are often not seeking health care and only seek treatment when they are critically ill," the report said.

This may be explained by a fear of stigma, safety concerns and inability to access proper testing, the report added.

Meanwhile, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock warned Tuesday that Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Nigeria, the Philippines and Ukraine will see the peak spread of the coronavirus in the next three to six months.

During a remote meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council, Lowcock added that "people in these countries will suffer not only from the direct effects of the virus, but also from disruptions to ongoing life-saving health services."

"In Yemen, people are dying alone in their homes or shelters ...We face many uncertainties We do not know when we will see a vaccine, or how effective containment measures will be."

Yemen’s five-year-long civil war has left only half of its health facilities fully functioning.

"UNICEF warns that the pandemic could cause an additional 6,000 children to die every day from preventable causes this year," Lowcock warned.

"We can expect to see cases of measles, cholera and other diseases rise as vaccinations are put on hold, medical supply chains are disrupted, and health systems buckle under the strain," he added.


Editing by Ahlam Mohsen and Casey Coombs



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