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Movement from the city to other regions was barred with the exception of the transport of goods.
The interim seat of Yemen’s United Nations-recognized and Saudi-backed government, Aden, was declared Monday an “infested” city by authorities after new cases of coronavirus were reported in the war-ravaged country.
The Aden-based national coronavirus committee announced Sunday that the southern port city had 10 of the 17 new Covid-19 cases registered, bringing the total number in areas under the control of the Saudi-backed government to 51, with eight deaths.
Movement from the city to other regions was barred with the exception of the transport of goods, the committee said.
“The administrative and political situation in Aden is also hampering efforts to combat the coronavirus and this should be remedied so relevant entities can carry out their duties,” the committee wrote on its Twitter account.
A total of 35 coronavirus cases and four deaths were reported in the port city.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is now assuming a full-blown transmission in the Arab country, whose population is even less prepared than others to face such a pandemic given low immunity levels due to five years of war and hunger. In addition, the country’s deeply strained health system is unlikely to be able to deal with the spread of the disease.
Apart from the pandemic and the civil war, Yemen is barely recovering from April’s deadly flooding which ravaged much of the state, including Aden.
Consequences of the flooding are particularly harsh for the displaced Yemenis (an estimated four million people) who have lost shelter and are at risk of getting ill from diseases such as cholera and malaria, which thrive in muddy, unhygienic environments, the U.N. said.
Furthermore, nearly one million displaced Yemenis are at risk of losing shelter and access to food and medicine due to a funding shortage in aid, the U.N.'s refugee agency (UNHCR) said last month.
The civil war in Yemen started on March 26, 2015, when a western-backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched a military campaign against the Houthis, to restore the government of ousted Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi.
More than 100,000 people have died while approximately 80 percent of Yemen's population, or 24 million people, rely on aid, and 10 million are facing famine, according to the U.N.
On 25 April, a separatist group -the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC)- declared self-rule in the south of the country including Aden, threatening to renew conflict with the Saudi-backed government.
The two sides -the STC and the Saudi-backed government- are both part of the anti-Houthi coalition, but they turned on each other last year until Riyadh brokered a deal in late November.
As the U.N. is seeking to hold virtual talks to coordinate coronavirus efforts and restart peace talks, the Saudi led coalition extended on April 24 a nationwide ceasefire prompted by the coronavirus outbreak by one month.
The Houthis have not formally accepted the truce, but the violence has been reduced.