Three days after Yemen's Hadramaut reported the country's first confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, a dedicated treatment and isolation centre was opened in the provincial capital of al-Mukalla.
Hadramaut governor Faraj al-Bahasni on Monday (April 13th) opened the 150-bed capacity facility, which includes 10 intensive care beds and 10 ventilators.
The healthcare facility will be staffed by 150 health workers who have received training in coronavirus treatment protocols, as set out by Yemen's Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO), he said.
In light of the scarcity of resources, al-Bahasni called on health teams in the province to be innovative in their approach, and commended a group of medical students who had produced a locally-made steriliser.
"There is an opportunity now to show loyalty to the community and offer sacrifices to protect citizens and their health against the coronavirus pandemic," he said.
Yemen's Ministry of Health and the supreme emergency committee for combating the coronavirus pandemic are following up on the first reported coronavirus case, Deputy Health Minister Ali al-Walidi told Al-Mashareq.
"Two contacts of the infected man were tested after they showed some symptoms, but their tests were negative," he said. "The monitoring teams continue to follow up on the conditions of contacts."
"Yemen will need at least 500 coronavirus testing machines, as well as other supplies, to support the health sector in combating the spread of the pandemic," he said.
Houthis collect coronavirus funds
Meanwhile, the Houthi-controlled telecommunications ministry has ordered telecom companies that operate in the country to contribute 500 million Yemeni riyals ($2 million) as a first installment to support efforts to combat coronavirus.
A document circulated online revealed that the ministry has ordered five telecom companies to each pay 100 million riyals ($400,000) to support the efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Workers from those companies -- the General Organisation for Telecommunications, TeleYemen, Yemen Mobile, Sabafon and MTN -- have confirmed the authenticity of the document.
Political analyst Faisal Ahmed told Al-Mashareq he was skeptical that the money the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) collected would be fully used to address the health crisis, as they claimed.
The measures the Houthis have put in place do not include the preparation of hospitals and isolation centres to receive coronavirus cases, he noted.
He accused the Houthis of exploiting the current circumstances to levy new taxes and fees on companies and traders to augment their war chest.