Corona Pandemic: UN officials warn of alarming situation in Yemen

Coronavirus medical examination for those coming to the southern city of Taiz,

While most of the Gulf countries are reeling under the Coronavirus pandemic, one country which is worst affected by the disease is war-torn Yemen.

According to the UN, the healthcare system of the country has “collapsed.”

As cases of coronavirus spread across the country, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesperson has described the situation as “extremely alarming.”

Jens Laerke, the spokesperson, said people had been turned away without any treatment as they lack protective equipment. 

The government official in Yemen has said there are many positive cases of COVID. Reports add 30 people have died due to the viral disease. 

The UN agency believes the number of cases will be on the higher side. 

The country’s healthcare system is already in critical shape due to years of ongoing civil war. 

Hundreds of people affected in the war, are homeless and suffering from malnourishment. Most of the Yemenis depend on aid. 

Reports add that crucial supplies required to treat cases like ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are in short supply. 

Laerke added that a lack of testing is masking the actual number of COVID cases. 

“The actual incidence is almost certainly much higher. Tests remain in short supply. Aid agencies in Yemen are operating on the basis that community transmission is taking place across the country.” 

As the war has weakened the economy, Yemen might not be able to fight the infectious virus without help. 

The UN, according to Laerke, is now “working on the assumption that there is widespread communal transmission going on.”

According to Laerke, “If we do not get the money coming in, the programmes that are keeping people alive and are very much essential to fight back against Covid-19 will have to close.

“And then the world will have to witness what happens in a country without a functioning health system battling Covid-19. And I do not think the world wants to see that,” the UN official added.

According to reports, only half of the country’s healthcare system is fully functional. Estimates suggest that the war-shattered will need about $ 2 billion until the end of 2020 to revive its healthcare system. 

Yemen’s situation worsened in 2014 when Houthi rebels got control over the country’s north and captured capital Sanaa. The UN – recognised government, had to flee to Aden. The Houthis are challenged by a coalition force led by Saudi Arabia since 2015. 

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