War-torn Yemen faces shocking 16 million coronavirus cases, UN warns

War-torn Yemen faces shocking 16 million coronavirus cases, UN warns
The United Nations has warned a shocking 16 million people in war-torn Yemen could become infected with the deadly coronavirus.
2 min read
04 May, 2020
Yemen's first coronavirus case was confirmed last week [Getty]
A shocking 16 million people are are risk of contracting the deadly novel coronavirus in Yemen, the UN has warned, dealing a whopping blow to what it has already described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The "most likely scenario" would see Covid-19 strike 55 percent of Yemen's entire population, the global body’s chief, Lisa Grande said on Monday.

Yemen's devastating five-year war has introduced air strikes, death and poverty to a nation that was already listed as one of the most impoverished in the world. 

More than 100,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led coalition intervened to back the government in March 2015, prompting the UN to label the situation in the country as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Yemen's healthcare system has also been blighted by years of war that has driven millions from their homes.

Last week, Yemen reported its first cases of the coronavirus in Hadramout, which have now increased to ten and spread across other major cities including Aden and Taiz.

Concerns were first heightened earlier this week when a string of mysterious deaths were reported across Yemen’s temporary capital and southern coastal city of Aden.

Local journalists said at least 26 people reportedly died in Aden from acute pneumonia and fevers on Sunday - the most dire symptoms of Covid-19.

On Saturday, seven also died from acute pneumonia, Yemen-based journalist Fuad Rajeh reported on Twitter.

Officially, the Saudi-backed government's Supreme National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus has reported only ten confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and two deaths.

Despite the reassuring statement, Yemenis have called out the ministry of public health and population, accusing it of deliberately concealing information on an alleged wide-scale coronavirus outbreak in the war-torn country's temporary capital, Aden.

Alarmed by the deaths, Yemeni doctors dubbed the situation in the capital as a "medical emergency", calling on the World Health Organisation and other global organisations to intervene over concerns of an undetected outbreak that they said the health ministry was "ill-equipped" to handle.

Read also: Yemenis accuse health ministry of coronavirus 'cover-up' following string of 'mysterious' Aden hospital deaths

In a press statement Musani shared with The New Arab on Tuesday, the United Nations regional Yemen office said it was very likely that the coronavirus was spreading in Yemen undetected.

The UN body said health agencies were warning of "a very real probability that the virus has been circulating undetected and unmitigated within communities".

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