Coronavirus: Yemeni official calls for solidarity as first case confirmed

Hadramawt governor Faraj Al Bahsani said Yemenis needed to stay resilient

A police vehicle patrols a street during a curfew after the state's first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), was announced, in al-Sheher, Hadhramout province, Yemen April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Ibrahim al-Bakri
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The governor of Hadramawt province in southeast Yemen has called on people to pull together in order to defeat the coronavirus.

His call came hours after a 73-years old Yemeni citizen from the eastern district of Al Sheher in Hadramawt province became the first confirmed case in Yemen on Friday morning.

“Such hard times need more solidarity and more cooperation to overcome the worldwide pandemic. You must stay strong and resilient more than ever before,” governor Faraj Al Bahsani said in a televised speech.

“We must work together to defeat this ordeal the same way we did when we faced the challenge of the terror groups in 2016,” Mr Al Bahsani added.

“We ordered the whole district of Al Sheher to be sealed off and all the family of the patient to be quarantined and tested and we ordered the security forces and the health authorities in the province to trace all the people who were in contact with the patient to be quarantined,” the governor of Hadramawt explained.

The governor Mr Al Bahsani said that a province-wide curfew will be announced in the coming days. He urged journalists and activists on social media to report based on reliable sources to ensure fear and anxiety do not spread.

In Al Sheher district, where the first case in Yemen was recorded, a full curfew has been in place since early Friday. "The security forces rumbled into the streets and sealed off the whole district," Abdul Jabar Bajubeir a resident based in the city, told The National.

He said the security forces had roamed the city and urged people via loudspeakers to stay at home.

“Since the first case was detected in the harbour street the whole city went [into] lockdown, the residents stayed home, the streets seemed vacant, all the shops and the mall stores closed, the mosques, the public markets were all shuttered,” Mr Bajubeir said

"The city has been haunted with fear and anxiety, everybody expects the pandemic to ramp up because the patient has mixed to many before he got diagnosed positive," another resident, who asked not to be named, told The National.

Furthermore, authorities in the adjacent provinces of Al Mahrah and Shabwa have sealing the entry points with Hadramawt.

"We closed all the entry points with Hadramawt and prevented the travel from and to Hadramawt until further notice," Issa Al Qumairi, the media secretary of Al Mahrah's governor, told The National.

In Aden, activists called on the security forces to impose a curfew and prevent public gatherings to stop the coronavirus spreading.