Authorities in Yemen have reported the first case of Covid-19 in Hadramout governorate, 1400km from Sana’a just days after a second ceasefire agreement was reached.
Save the Children is urging all parties to the conflict to adhere to the agreed ceasefire, because the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be fought while bombs are falling.
Xavier Joubert, Country Director for Save the Children in Yemen said:
“Today, the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Yemen. This is a moment we all feared, and were hoping to avoid, because Yemen is critically under-equipped to face this virus. Only half of the Yemen’s health facilities are still fully functional. There are 700 intensive care unit beds, including 60 for children, and 500 ventilators for a population of about 30 million.
“But it’s not too late to prevent a full outbreak if we can take early action.
“A ceasefire in Yemen has been announced twice since the global Coronavirus pandemic started. The first time it didn’t hold. It’s absolutely critical that it does the second time around. We are calling on all warring parties to put down arms and take up the fight against the coronavirus.
“Millions in Yemen lack access to clean water and soap in order to limit the spread of coronavirus. In the past, outbreaks of other diseases like cholera have demonstrated the country’s vulnerability to infectious diseases. We are calling on authorities to allow full access to communities in need so we can do the work needed to slow the rate of infection.
“A Covid-19 outbreak in Yemen will put a heavy strain on the country’s damaged health infrastructures and will have a devastating impact on its civilians, who have already endured more than five years of brutal war. If we don’t act today, what we will witness tomorrow is unspeakable.”
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