Coronavirus: 17 new cases in Yemen, government declares Aden “infested”

May 12, 2020

Monday, Yemeni authorities have declared Aden, the temporary base of the internationally recognized government an “infested” city. The decision comes after the number of coronavirus cases increased, following clashes between separatists and government forces, in other parts of southern Yemen.The five-year war destroyed the Yemeni health system, drove millions of people to poverty, and divided the country between the internationally recognized government and the group of Houthi militias after ousted it from the capital, Sanaa, at the end of 2014.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the new coronavirus pandemic in Yemen is spreading undetected among the population with some of the lowest levels of disease immunity compared to other countries in the region. WHO said that the level of COVID-19 tests is inadequate, demanding local authorities to report confirmed cases transparently.The Aden national committee yesterday announced 17 new Covid-19 cases, 10 of them in the coastal city, bringing the number of positive cases in the areas under government control to 51, while eight patients died for complications related to the virus. The Iranian Houthi movement, which controls Sanaa and many major urban centers, reported only two cases and one death

The Aden government accused the Houthi group of covering the epidemic in the capital Sanaa, and of conducting a manhunt in search of contagion cases, in clear violation of international human rights law.The commission declared Aden a “haunted city” due to the spread of coronavirus and other diseases already existent in the country. According to local activists, the situation worsened after the recent floods. To curb the spread of the pandemic, the internationally recognized Government blocked the movement from Aden to other regions, except for goods transportation and humanitarian aids.

Aden’s administrative and political situation is hampering efforts to combat the coronavirus, and this should be remedied so that relevant entities can perform their functions, said the commission through its Twitter account.On April 25, the Separatist Southern Transitional Council declared self-government in the city of Aden and other southern provinces, threatening to reopen the conflict with the government supported by the Saudi-led Arab coalition in the Yemen war. The United Nations seeks to hold virtual talks to agree on a permanent truce, coordinate coronavirus response and restart peace talks.

According to our sources, on Monday, clashes broke out between government troops and the separatists in southern Yemen, leaving at least 10 civilians dead. This is the first significant dispute since separatists declared self-government in the south. The two sides fought for the control of Zingiber, the capital of the Abyan region, following an attempt by the Government’s troops to advance in the area.

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