The Houthi militia’s health minister is being mocked for saying that the militants have been researching for a vaccine to cure the COVID-19 coronavirus amid accusations the Iran-backed militants are underreporting cases of infections and deaths in the country.
“With God’s permission and with the capabilities of doctors, colleagues, pharmacists, and colleagues in laboratories, long and extensive research are now being conducted, and God willing, a vaccine for coronavirus will come from Yemen,” Houthi health minister Taha al-Motawakel said during a press conference.
“There are extensive and promising research and studies promising with all that the word ‘promising’ entails. The treatment [for coronavirus] will come from Yemen,” al-Motawakel reiterated.
The Iran-backed Houthi militants have so far only reported four cases as a result of coronavirus, including one fatality. An AFP tally, however, placed the figures at 283 cases of infections and 65 deaths.
Al-Motawakel was criticized for boasted about his group's discreet policy regarding the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Yemen, saying the militants were dealing with patients “out of care for their human rights and not as stock market figures that the media are racing to address.”
The Houthis last Thursday accused the World Health Organization of sending “inaccurate” and deficient tests, and said it would reveal the results in the coming days.
Users online drew comparisons to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the main backers of the Houthis in Yemen, who last month said they unveiled a new device which could detect coronavirus remotely and without blood tests.