Yemen's government has approved five billion Yemeni riyals ($20 million) in additional support for the health sector to support the fight against the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, officials said.
The new allocation of funds comes after the country's first confirmed coronavirus infection was reported Friday (April 10th) in al-Shahr, Hadramaut Coast.
Prime Minister Moeen Abdulmalik on Saturday announced that the government would provide all necessary supplies to fight the health crisis to the extent of its ability to do so.
This will include the provision of 3,000 coronavirus test kits to Hadramaut, he said, to help ensure that all those with suspected infections can be tested.
The family of the infected man and all those with whom he came into contact are in self-isolation and are being monitored by the authorities, he said.
"The fight against coronavirus requires us to unify our efforts," he said, calling on Yemenis to take the measures to curb the spread of coronavirus seriously.
These include social distancing, he said.
Abdulmalik noted that Saudi Arabia "is playing a positive role", providing $25 million to help Yemen tackle the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to $500 million for humanitarian efforts in the country.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier said it would send an aid shipment by air from Jordan to support Yemen's efforts in combating the coronavirus.
Yemen needs support
Deputy Health Minister Ali al-Walidi urged international organisations to step up their support to Yemen because "the health sector in Yemen lacks the simplest capabilities and is operating at 50% of its capacity, five years into the war".
He stressed the importance of supporting Yemen's health sector and providing protective gear for medical workers as they carry out their duties.
"Monitoring teams are doing their duty in following up on the infected man and his contacts," al-Walidi told Al-Mashareq, noting that "18 relatives have been placed under isolation and 300 contacts have been placed under health quarantine".
"The isolation was ordered so we can do the necessary lab tests on contacts," he said. "We hope that they will test negative."
Al-Walidi praised the Hadramaut local authority for enforcing a curfew that has been imposed to try and prevent the virus from spreading.
"The Hadramaut health office has sent medical workers to support the medical teams in al-Shahr to step up the efforts to contain the virus," he said.
On Friday, when the first confirmed coronavirus infection was discovered in Hadramaut Coast, neighbouring Hadramaut Valley and Shabwa and al-Mahrah provinces imposed a ban on travel to Hadramaut Coast.
Aden and Lahij provinces on Sunday announced a partial curfew, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.