Yemen records two new coronavirus cases in Hadhramout

DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen reported two new coronavirus infections in the province of Hadhramout on Monday, raising the number of diagnosed infections in the war-town country to 12 with two deaths.

Hadhramout was where Yemen recorded its first case of the COVID-19 disease on April 10.

The two new cases were being treated in an isolation facility in Mukalla, the provincial capital and a port city.

Yemen is already grappling with the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis caused by a war between a Saudi-led coalition seeking to restore the internationally recognised government, and the Houthi group which drove the government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.

The emergency coronavirus committee which announced the 12 confirmed cases belongs to the Yemeni government, whose interim capital is in the southern port city of Aden.

Health authorities in the Houthi-controlled north have not announced any infections so far. They have said all suspected cases there had tested negative.

But the United Nations says it fears the coronavirus could be spreading undetected across the country among an acutely malnourished population with inadequate testing capabilities and protective equipment.

The Aden-based emergency coronavirus committee has also voiced concern that Houthi officials are not admitting to a coronavirus outbreak in Sanaa.

The World Health Organization has said it fears that COVID-19 will impact Yemen severely as the population has some of the lowest levels of immunity to disease compared with other countries.

Around 80% of the population, or 24 million people, rely on humanitarian aid and 10 million are at risk of starvation. Disease is rife.

Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Andrew Heavens