Yemen's health officials warned a third wave of Covid-19 may sweep the country after a significant surge in cases detected in areas under the government control.
“A third wave of the coronavirus pandemic had been detected in many areas in the country in the last couple of weeks," Dr Eshraq Al Subaee, deputy health minister and spokeswoman for the Yemen National Committee for Covid-19, told The National late on Wednesday.
Sixty five suspected cases were registered in nine government-held provinces on Tuesday, of which 39 were confirmed positive, Dr Al Subaee said.
"In the last couple of days 26 positive cases were confirmed and four cases died in Aden. This indicates that a third wave of the pandemic is looming and seems it will be very brutal," she said.
Patients admitted to hospital "showed severe respiratory inflammations only a few days after the first symptoms emerged", Dr Zainab Al Qaisi, director of the Covid-19 centre in Al Jamhoria public hospital in Aden told The National.
"Hospitals need to be prepared and new intensive care units must be opened to receive the increasing number of new cases," Dr Al Qaisi said.
The Yemeni Supreme National Emergency Committee for Covid-19 reported a total of 7,372 positive cases in provinces under the Yemen government control, while figures of confirmed cases in provinces under the Houthi rebels' control could not be accurately estimated. Testing has been difficult, meaning numbers are likely to be much higher.
Yemen received its first Covid-19 vaccine shipment of 36,000 doses at the end of March 2021 under the international Covax scheme.
A total of 298,161 of its population were vaccinated, including 21,059 healthcare workers and 34,751 elderly people, the deputy minister of public health said.
"We are waiting for a new vaccine shipment of 151,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine and 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the Covax to arrive next week," Dr Al Subaee told The National.