Houthis’ ‘Iranian-style management’ of coronavirus pandemic endangers millions: Yemen minister

Information received from the Houthi-held capital Sanaa revealed that the number of cases and deaths over the past few days indicated a “disastrous level of the spread of the virus.” (File/AFP)
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Updated 27 May 2020

Houthis’ ‘Iranian-style management’ of coronavirus pandemic endangers millions: Yemen minister

  • Yemen’s Information Minister claimed that the Houthis – as with the Iranian regime – were holding back information on the number of COVID-19 cases

DUBAI: Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al-Iryani warned on Tuesday that the Houthi militia’s management of the coronavirus follows the Iranian regime’s style of handling the pandemic, which threatens the lives of millions. 
The minister claimed that the Houthis – as with the Iranian regime – were holding back information on the number of COVID-19 cases in areas under their control. 
Information received from the Houthi-held capital Sanaa revealed that the number of cases and deaths over the past few days indicated a “disastrous level of the spread of the virus and lack of medical care,” the ministry said. 
Al-Iryani said the Houthis’ continued “denial policy” was “endangering the lives of millions.”
“The Houthis…(are) hiding data and information from their public and international organizations, including the number of suspected cases and deaths, and their lenient precautionary measures,” the Minister of Information said in a statement to the Yemeni news agency (Saba). 
Al-Iryani called on the international community, the United Nations Secretary-General and his special envoy to Yemen and the World Health Organization to save millions of Yemenis in militia control areas.


Iraqi MP dies of COVID-19 as cases jump 600%

Updated 4 min 16 sec ago

Iraqi MP dies of COVID-19 as cases jump 600%

  • Ghida Kambash, 46, was a three-time MP from Baquba
  • Iraq’s health ministry has declared around 70,000 coronavirus cases, of whom nearly 3,000 have died and 40,000 recovered

BAGHDAD: Iraqi lawmaker Ghida Kambash died Friday after contracting the novel coronavirus, parliament announced, its first member to succumb to the virus as its spread ramps up across the country.
The 46-year-old was a three-time MP from Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, and helped pass laws on education reform and social welfare.
She leaves behind four children.
Last month, parliament speaker Mohammed Al-Halbussi said up to 20 deputies were confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19.
In total, Iraq’s health ministry has declared around 70,000 coronavirus cases, of whom nearly 3,000 have died and 40,000 recovered.
After seeing a relatively slow spread in the first five months of 2020, cases spiked 600 percent in June alone, according to the International Rescue Committee.
“The rate at which COVID-19 is spreading through Iraq is extremely alarming,” said Christine Petrie, IRC’s country director.
The country’s health system — already worn down by years of war and poor investments — has been overwhelmed by the rising numbers.
Protective equipment, respirators and even hospital beds are all running low, forcing authorities to turn expo centers, stadiums and hotels into coronavirus wards and confinement centers.
Particularly stark is the “severe shortage of oxygen,” according to the World Health Organization, which recently airlifted 300 oxygen concentrators to help Iraqi hospitals cope.
Aid has also been donated from foreign countries, most recently Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the US.
Still, footage shot in hospitals in Iraq’s south shows patients struggling to breathe without access to respirators as their family members berate health staff.
Health Minister Dr. Hassan Salman was in the southern province of Diwaniyah on Friday to inspect hospital conditions there.
Iraq relaxed its curfew measures in recent weeks after imposing a strict country-wide lockdown in late March.
The restrictions hit its fledgling private sector hard, with an IRC survey finding that 87 percent of Iraqis were out of work as a result of the lockdown and 61 percent were already going into debt.
“Once things stabilize there will be a lot of work to do to help people get back on their feet,” said Petrie.
“Their loss of livelihoods will have taken a heavy toll on people’s mental health, which was already in a fragile state after decades of conflict and instability.”