Yemen's health system 'has in effect collapsed' as coronavirus spreads: UN

Yemen authorities have reported 184 cases including 30 deaths.
Yemen authorities have reported 184 cases including 30 deaths.PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (REUTERS) - Coronavirus is believed to be spreading throughout Yemen, where the healthcare system "has in effect collapsed", the United Nations said on Friday (May 22), appealing for urgent funding.

Referring to aid agencies, Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told a Geneva briefing: "We hear from many of them that Yemen is really on the brink right now. The situation is extremely alarming, they are talking about that the health system has in effect collapsed.

"They are talking about having to turn people away because they do not have enough (medical) oxygen, they do not have enough personal protective equipment," he said.

Yemen authorities have reported 184 cases, including 30 deaths to the World Health Organisation (WHO), its latest figures show.

"The actual incidence is almost certainly much higher," Laerke said.

The United Nations estimates that it will seek US$2 billion (S$2.85 billion) for Yemen to maintain aid programmes through year-end, he added.