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Yemeni rebels keep infections under wraps

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 6/09/20, 01:00 pm

Houthi insurgents have ordered late-night secret burials for victims of the coronavirus and punished those who report the effects of the pandemic, residents of Yemen’s northern region said. Insurgents in the area officially reported only four infections since the outbreak began, while local unions recorded 87 deaths between mid-May and early June. Some gravediggers said the rebels instructed them to refer to the dead as “unidentified bodies from the war.”

Why is the response to COVID-19 so difficult? A five-year civil war in Yemen between the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition has displaced millions of people and left more than 100,000 dead. The health system is also struggling: About 18 percent of the country’s 333 districts have no doctors.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s report in Globe Trot on reported infections in Yemen.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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