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WHO lifts restrictions on staff activity in Houthi-held areas in Yemen

May 12, 2020 at 10:52 am

Officials establish a new department for coronavirus patients at Zaid Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen on 28 March 2020 [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday lifted restrictions imposed on the activities of its staff in areas controlled by the Houthis in north and central Yemen.

“WHO hasn’t locked down or suspended its operations in northern areas of Yemen; it temporarily paused its staff movements due to perceived risks that could have impacted them,” the WHO office in Yemen explained on Twitter, adding that “the restriction on staff movement has been lifted and they’ll report to work effective immediately.”

Earlier on Sunday, Reuters reported that the WHO has suspended the activities of its staff in areas controlled by Houthis due to lack of transparency regarding the suspected coronavirus cases in those areas.

The WHO issued a directive late on Saturday notifying its staff in Sanaa, Hudaydah, Saada and Ibb that “all movements, meetings or any other activity” for all staff in those areas have been suspended until further notice.

Reuters quoted three sources as saying that “the WHO had taken the measure to press the Houthi authorities to report results of coronavirus tests”.

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