Yemenis Move To Villages To Celebrate Ramadan And Escape Social Distancing Protocols
Yeminis are now trying to move towards the countryside to freely observe Ramadan Eid Al-Fitr. As the country starts to tighten its social distancing protocols, to prevent Covid-19 spread. Yemen has reported a spike in infection with more than 80 people reportedly exposed and 50 or so dead.
The authorities are now putting most of the cities under 24 hour lockdown, restricting free movement. Most large cities are already struggling with power cuts. Al-Mukalla and Aden are two of the largest Yemeni cities that have been put under lockdown.
The capital of Yemen’s southeastern province of Hadramout might be under surveillance and lockdown while smaller villages on the outskirts like the Dawan district seem to be running an almost normal life. Yemenis are wishing to throw caution to win and would like to choose to celebrate two important festivals which witness a lot of meeting of people, hugging and sharing of food. Both festivals are in fact, community events.
Social gatherings such as mass iftars, visits or Taraweeh prayers have largely been unaffected by the restrictions in the cities. Economists and political analyst feel that Yemenis would challenge any attempt by the government to limit social contact during Eid Al-Fitr.
For the elderly, it is a matter of insult if relatives did not visit them at Eid. Even with the threat of coronavirus, people would move from one house to another to exchange greetings. It seems that force might have to be used by authorities to impose restrictions or risk the spread of the disease.
Aden has been marked as an ‘infested’ city due to its exposure to not just Covid-19 disease but also to mosquito driven diseases like malaria, dengue and chikungunya.
Thousands of people have now reportedly travelled from Aden to the city of Taiz, which is now seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases, according to local health officials. Local authorities say they are unable to close the city off completely, but that they cannot offer the necessary healthcare to new arrivals either.
Yemen continues to be plagued by low nutritional levels, low medical health facilities and low level of awareness amongst locals about the danger of not maintaining social distancing.