Yemeni govt's new steps to beat COVID-19

Yemen’s prime minister has urged people to band gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country, stressing that with its poor health facilities it cannot confront the virus on its own.

Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed said in a televised speech on Monday that his government was forced into shutting down airports, land crossings and schools to prevent the COVID-19 virus from sneaking into the country.

He appealed to Yemenis to set aside their differences and focus on his government’s precautionary measures, adding “Although no case has been registered, we must not underestimate or deal carelessly with the gravity of the diseases. We must come together to achieve the preventive measures and get ready for the pandemic” .

Yemen’s government has recently closed schools for one week, grounded planes and deployed 11 heath teams at sea, land and air entry points to test arrivals. The prime minister said that as many as 50,000 Yemenis who have returned since Jan. 18 have been tested for the virus, which consumed all the virus tests in the country’s stocks.

“We are counting a lot on support from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to overcome this pandemic,” Saeed said.

Early this year, the Iran-backed Houthis imposed a ban on recently printed banknotes, sparking a series of crises, including a severe cash crunch. Local exchange companies that disperse government salaries inside Houthi-controlled territories said they could not pay due to limited cash.

The prime minister urged the Houthis to scrap their ban to allow the government in Aden to lifeline funds to health facilities in Sanaa and other provinces in northern Yemen.

On Tuesday, Yemen’s minister of sports Nayef Al-Bakri suspended all sports activities to prevent the spread of the virus. The country’s judiciary authority also suspended the work in courts.