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14 Mar 2020 | 05:21 PM UTC

Yemen: Saudi-backed government cancels flights for two weeks from March 18 over COVID-19 concerns

Saudi-backed Yemeni government to cancel all flights to/from airports under its control for two weeks from March 18 over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns; humanitarian flights exempted from restrictions



On Saturday, March 14, the Saudi-backed Yemeni government announced that it would cancel all flights to and from airports under its command, including Aden International Airport (ADE), Seiyun Hadhramaut Airport (GXF), and Riyan International Airport (RIY), serving Mukalla, for two weeks from Wednesday, March 18, due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Notably, humanitarian flights are exempted from the restrictions.

No COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Yemen as of Saturday.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus. 

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia. 


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.