South Yemen gets new virus hospital after other facilities close


Tue, 22-09-2020 08:39 PM, Aden

By JAN M. OLSEN Associated Press

The Red Cross on Monday announced the opening of a new field hospital in southern Yemen specifically to treat coronavirus patients, as the virus continues to spread largely unchecked in the war-torn country.

In the south, an already wrecked health system seems to have completely shut down. Many medical facilities in Aden, southern Yemen's main city, have closed as staffers fled or simply turn patients away.

In a news release, the International Committee for the Red Cross said the new 60-bed field hospital in Aden has emergency rooms, wards, an X-ray department and a laboratory.

Norway was a major donor to the new facility. The United Nations has repeatedly called on other countries to make good on their pledges of financial aid to Yemen at a donor conference earlier this year.

“When COVID-19 hit Aden hard a few months ago, many hospitals shut their doors. People could not afford medicine, and other infectious diseases resurfaced," said Alexandre Equey, the head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen. "When people contract COVID-19, they must have a place they can go for medical assistance.”

Officially, Yemen has had some 2,030 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. However, with a death toll of more than 587, it has the highest ratio of deaths to cases in the world. It's believed that the vast majority of the country's cases have gone undiagnosed and untreated, and health workers have said only those who are near death are usually brought to hospitals.

“This center will both rescue lives now and prevent increased infection on the long run,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide in a press release.

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