Yemen's government has ordered the suspension of international flights and the closure of educational institutions to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus to the country.
The measures are similar to those being taken by countries around the world to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, although Yemen has not yet detected any cases.
A statement from Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik's office said humanitarian flights were exempted from the ban, which begins on March 18.
The state-run Saba news agency said all border crossings would be closed except for commercial and humanitarian shipments.
The government also suspended classes in all educational institutions including schools, universities and vocational training schools, Saba reported.
The Houthi rebels, who control much of northern Yemen including the capital Sanaa, also announced a ban on passenger flights on Saturday, although city's airport receives only occasional humanitarian flights.
Yemen's health infrastructure has been severely affected by nearly five years of civil war between the Iran-backed rebels and government forces supported by a Saudi-led military coalition.
“Fortunately, no coronavirus cases have been reported in Aden and Yemen so far, but we have proactively started preparing for any emergent cases," said Dr Jamal Khadabakhish of the public health authority in Aden, where the government is based.
Dr Khadabakhish said the local branch of the World Health Organisation was assisting with preparations to deal with a possible outbreak.
"We have co-ordinated with WHO Yemen which granted us some medical equipment and some testing materials but we are fighting to get a place to open a quarantine centre for suspected cases," he told The National.
“We previously selected two places but the residents living nearby rejected the plan fearing infection," he said, blaming rumours spread by the media.
An official at Aden's international airport welcomed the flight ban, saying most entry points lacked the equipment needed to detect suspected cases among arrivals.
“We have met many officials from the ministry of public health, WHO Yemen and other international organisation. Many of them promised to provide the airport with equipment needed to test passengers arriving at the airport but nothing has happened so far,” the official said.