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Yemen Reports First 2 Coronavirus Deaths
Workers at a snack shop in the Yemen capital Sanaa are shown on Wednesday selling food for ‘iftar,’ the evening meal during which practicing Muslims break the dawn-to-dusk Ramadan fast. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP via Getty Images)

Yemen Reports First 2 Coronavirus Deaths

Yemen’s health minister said on Wednesday night that the country had seen its first two deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic, with a total of six confirmed cases. The deaths, according to the minister, came in the southern port city of Aden, which has been the government’s seat of power since it was forcibly removed from the capital Sanaa by Iran-backed Houthi rebels some five years ago. This indicates that the statistics do not include areas being held by the Houthis, who have taken over most of the populated areas in the western part of the country. Civil war has left Yemen on the verge of a major humanitarian catastrophe, with hunger and illness rampant due to fighting over major ports and supply lines. The Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s besieged government declared a coronavirus truce at the behest of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, although the Houthis are reported to have kept the fighting going along numerous fronts. Making things even more complicated for Yemen’s government is a statement issued on Sunday by southern separatists saying that they were declaring self-rule, including over parts of Aden.

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