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Houthi government in Sanaa warns that masks airdropped by Saudis are infected with Covid-19 

March 31, 2020 at 4:51 pm

A Yemeni man in protective clothing at a hospital for coronavirus patients in Sanaa, Yemen on 28 March 2020 [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]

An official in the Houthi-affiliated government in the Yemeni capital Sanaa has urged media and activists to warn citizens to avoid using face masks that are reported to have been airdropped by Saudi-led coalition aircraft. The masks, it is claimed, are infected with the Covid-19 virus.

Minister of Information Dhaifullah Al-Shami reaffirmed that the coalition aggression has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen. That is why, he explained, it is a surprise to see the Saudi air force dropping supplies of the masks in Sanaa and several other provinces, especially in light of the fact that, according to the World Health Organisation, no cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the country.

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Al-Shami placed responsibility on the US-supported, Saudi-led coalition should the virus spread in Yemen. He also condemned the coalition’s targeting of a quarantine building in Al-Salif in the besieged Hudaydah province. In bombing centres that provide preventative health services during a pandemic, he insisted, it has exposed the coalition’s intentions to enable the spread of the virus.

An article in the pro-Houthi Al-Masirah news site has drawn parallels between the mask claim and the historic allegations that the British forces in North America under Commander-in-Chief Jeffrey Amherst contributed to the genocide of the indigenous population in 1763 by distributing blankets infected with smallpox as gifts.

The Yemen Press Agency also reported that the Supreme Council for Humanitarian Affairs yesterday called on civilians to avoid touching masks and other materials distributed by coalition aircraft.

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