A surge in coronavirus infections has been reported in Yemen since early March, worsening the already devastating crisis in the country.
“Oxygen supplies and ICU ventilators in the isolation centers in Aden have run out and the centers have reached their maximum capacity,” Health Minister Qasim Bouheibeh warned on Twitter on Friday.
Medical sources in the six-year besieged city of Taiz said the number of new cases and deaths has unprecedentedly increased in the past few days.
“We have received about 20 cases in the last 24 hours, 3 of them died,” deputy director of Al Jumhori Hospital said on Saturday.
The Aden-based emergency committee for Covid-19 reported on Friday 91 new cases in six provinces under the control of the Yemeni government: 34 in Aden, 31 in Hadramawt, 11 in Taez, 10 in Al Mahrah province, three in Shabwa, and two in Lahej. Six patients died in Hadramawt, and two each in Taez and Al Mahrah provinces.
The number of cases officially recorded on Friday only includes areas under the control of the internationally recognized government, mostly south Yemen.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia, which controls large swaths of northern Yemen, acknowledged witnessing an increased number in coronavirus cases in areas under their control, without giving figures.
According the government’s emergency committee for Covid-19, the total cases recorded so far 3,278, with 737 deaths and 1,530 recoveries in areas under the control of the Yemeni government. However, local and international reports indicate much higher numbers.
On June 18, 2020, the UK government said in a press release that a UK aid-funded research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine indicated that infections may had already reached one million, with 85,000 deaths.
In February, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, announced that Yemen had been allocated about 2,316,000 doses of University of Oxford and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility.
“A first allocation of 2.3 million doses has been confirmed and should be available by end-February, beginning of March, depending on the suppliers’ availability of vaccines,” Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF’s representative in Yemen told Reuters last month.
Due to the war that broke out in 2015, Yemen is now, according to the United Nations, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than two-thirds of the nation in dire need of humanitarian assistance.