Yemen provinces relax virus curbs as death rate falls

In this, June 14, 2020 file photo, medical workers attend to a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. (AP)
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Updated 01 July 2020

Yemen provinces relax virus curbs as death rate falls

  • Local authorities had bowed to the public pressure to lift the curfew

AL-MUKALLA: Local authorities in several Yemeni provinces have begun easing coronavirus restrictions following a fall in the number of infections and deaths.

In the eastern province of Mahra, a government emergency committee on Wednesday lifted a night-time curfew in the capital after health facilities reported fewer infections and deaths.

Spokesperson Mohammed Saeed Kelaishat told Arab News that the province has had five deaths since the start of the outbreak in Yemen in April, while the number of patients with coronavirus symptoms admitted to local hospitals has fallen.

“The quarantine is empty and all cases have recovered. The other patients have isolated themselves at home,” Kelaishat said.

Local authorities had bowed to the public pressure to lift the curfew, which affected businesses in the province, he said.

“Traders have complained that the curfew has had an impact on their businesses,” he added.

The province has reported 22 confirmed cases, including 14 recoveries and five deaths.

Kelaishat said that the province’s quarantine facility has not received any patients with acute respiratory problems since early last month, an indication that the pandemic is easing.

“The curfew will be reimposed if coronavirus cases rise again,” he said.

In neighboring Hadramout province, local authorities have reduced curfew hours and allowed mosques to reopen for prayers, while advising people to follow social distancing rules, and wear masks and gloves.

The curfew was adjusted from 2 p.m. to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Restrictions were imposed in the province on April 10 after the first case of coronavirus in Yemen was detected in the port city of Sheher.

According to the Aden-based national coronavirus committee, the large province of Hadramout has recorded 133 deaths, the largest number of fatalities in Yemen, followed by Taiz with 61. The total number of deaths in government-controlled areas is 312.

In Aden, Yemen’s interim capital, local officials said that the number of daily deaths has returned to normal levels.

“There is a gradual and sharp decrease in deaths from different kinds of fever by 50 percent. There is also 50 percent drop in the occupancy of quarantines,” Abdulla bin Ghouth, a professor of community medicine and epidemiology at Hadramout University’s College of Medicine, and an adviser to the health minister, told Arab News on Wednesday.

Local media outlets quoted Gen. Sanad Jamel, director of Civil Affairs Authority, as saying that daily deaths from disease in Aden have fallen from 70 early last month to 17. 

In May, the internationally recognized government declared Aden an “infested” city as coronavirus and other diseases claimed that lives of hundreds.


Algeria reopens mosques, beaches after 5-month lockdown

Updated 15 August 2020

Algeria reopens mosques, beaches after 5-month lockdown

  • Restaurants were also allowed to reopen, and mosques that can hold more than 1,000 people and ensure social distancing measures
  • Crowds packed beaches Saturday in the capital Algiers, celebrating the opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean Sea

ALGIERS: Algeria started reopening its mosques, cafes, beaches and parks Saturday for the first time in five months, gradually relaxing one of the world’s longer virus confinement periods.
Curfews remain in place in more than half the country, and masks are required outdoors as Algeria tries to keep virus infections down. But authorities decided to start reopening public places starting Saturday, saying the virus infection rate is believed to have stabilized.
Crowds packed beaches Saturday in the capital Algiers, celebrating the opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean Sea amid the August heat.
Restaurants were also allowed to reopen, and mosques that can hold more than 1,000 people and ensure social distancing measures.
However, mosques remain closed to all women, children and the elderly until further notice, and the main weekly Muslim prayers on Friday will remain banned to limit crowds. Mosque-goers must wear masks and bring their own prayer mats.
“This reopening will depend entirely on the discipline of each person to respect protection measures,” said the minister for religious affairs, Mohamed Belmahdi, who was among those attending the first services Saturday at Khaled Ibn El Walid Mosque in the resort town of Heuraoua east of Algiers.
He warned that authorities would close mosques again if Algerians show even a “slight indifference” toward preventive measures. “The health of citizens comes before faith.”
Algeria has reported more than 37,000 virus infections and 1,350 deaths as of Friday, the third-highest death rate reported in Africa after South Africa and Egypt.