Yemen has more suspected coronavirus cases and confirmed deaths than the Houthis and the internationally recognised government have reported, four informed sources told Reuters.
The unnamed sources identified as having access to hospital information, said the health authorities in Houthi-held areas had not informed the World Health Organisation about the test results for at least 50 patients with COVID-19 symptoms at Kuwait Hospital in the capital, Sanaa.
Two sources said they had seen 20 other patients with similar symptoms who had died at the same hospital.
The other two sources said they are aware of at least 30 suspected coronavirus cases who had been admitted to Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Sanaa and whose test results had not also been shared.
Reuters said it had not seen the hospitals’ medical records and could not independently confirm the numbers provided by the sources.
“Houthi authorities do not share the results of the tests with doctors and with the WHO when the results are positive,” Reuters quoted one source as saying.
The WHO responded saying it was “operating under the assumption that full blown transmission is now occurring” across Yemen and that it was ramping up “community engagement and awareness activities”.
Meanwhile, sources in areas controlled by the internationally-recognised government said the authorities have not fully disclosed the extent of the pandemic there as well.
According to the sources, at least 13 confirmed COVID-19 patients have died at Al-Amal Hospital in Aden.
“In Aden, we also have dozens of people dying at home but nobody tested them to know why they died. Some hospitals refused to take in patients showing coronavirus symptoms because they are not equipped to handle those cases. We cannot really blame them,” one source said.
Until now, there have been 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Yemen and 12 deaths.