Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 April 2020

Yemen rushes to train medics on coronavirus before patient zero

Health experts warned that after five years of war the medical system would not cope with the spread of the virus

The Yemeni government is urgently training medical staff on diagnosing and treating patients with coronavirus before the first case is found in the country as security forces ordered business across the south to shut for two weeks.

After five years of war that has split the country in half, senior medical officials warned that the country lacked even basic supplies and would easily be overwhelmed if the virus that has infected over 387,000 and killed over 16,760 around the world hit the country.

“Although, no cases have been recorded yet, the situation in our country is disconcerting, the medical infrastructure in the country is very poor, no hospitals no equipment, and the medical staff in the public hospitals have no experience on how to cope with any suspected cases,” Dr Adham Mohammed who manages the diseases control unit at the Yemeni Health Ministry told The National.

“We have been working with all our capacity to train the medical teams in Aden to provide them with the medical knowledge on how to diagnose Covid-19 and how to handle with any suspected cases,” Dr Adham said.

He added that hundreds of doctors and nurses from across government-controlled Yemen had been rushed to Aden to undergo training before heading back to their provinces to prepare for the virus.

The World Health Organization in Yemen has said that a shipment of critical medical supplies were airlifted to Aden by Saudi aircraft on Monday. The supplies include personal protective items for health workers and lab screening tests, trauma medicines and supplies to support the ongoing response to the crisis, the WHO said.

Meanwhile, in Aden, the de-facto capital of the country, security forces have ordered malls, wedding venues, restaurants, hotels and resorts to close.

The head of the Southern Transitional Council, Brig Aidrous Al Zubaidi issued a statement calling on residents in Aden and the other cities in the country’s south to stay home and avoid large gatherings.

“We issued a notification that is a warning for all the public and private facilities that host gatherings to close for two weeks, we will give them two days to close, after that we will launch a security campaign to impose the closure in case the owners of that facilities don’t take it seriously,” a security official told The National.

Zeid Al Jamal, the owner of the newly opened Gold Mohr Five Star restaurant newly in Aden told said they had already shut their doors.

“The safety of our people is a priority for us, so the restaurant will keep closed except for the takeaway section,” Mr Al Jamal said.

Updated: March 24, 2020 03:39 PM

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