Efforts to mediate the crisis in Yemen, which marked its fifth anniversary last week, have been complicated by repeated back-and-forth strikes by the Saudi-led military coalition and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Houthi Information Minister Dhaifullah Al-Shami has urged civilians not to use facemasks and any other medical equipment dropped from Saudi-coalition aircraft in recent days, claiming that they may be contaminated with the coronavirus, Almasirah, a Yemeni television channel has reported.
Al-Shami voiced his “surprise” at seeing coalition aircraft dropping facemasks in Sana’a and other provinces, given that “US-Saudi aggression had caused the worst humanitarian catastrophe” in his country. According to the minister, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yemen. Al-Shami urged media and activists to spread the word about the alleged danger posed by the air-dropped masks.
Other officials in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen have issued similar warnings in recent days, with official warnings not to make contact with the infected masks distributed by local councils.
Al-Shami accused the Saudi-led coalition of targeting a COVID-19 quarantine building in the village of al-Salif in al-Hudaydah governorate west of Sana’a. On Monday, Reuters reported that the coalition had hit targets in multiple towns in the coastal province, in addition to attacks targeting missile batteries, the presidential palace compound, airbase and military school near Sana’a…