A two-week-long unilateral ceasefire declared by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen came into effect on Thursday, in a bid to allow local authorities to concentrate on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised the measure following his call to halt hostilities in the countries in war during coronavirus pandemic.

According to reports, a senior Houthi official called the ceasefire declaration a "ploy" by Saudi Arabia and accused the kingdom of continuing to deploy airstrikes against Yemen.

The footage shows the capital Sanaa, controlled by the Houthi forces, on the first day of the ceasefire, with the sanitary services disinfecting the roads and residents going out wearing protective masks.

A spokesperson for the ministry of health, Dr. Yusef Al-Hadari, called the situation in Yemen "tragic" and said that the country's ability to deal with a coronavirus outbreak "does not rise to one in ten percent of the capabilities of other countries."

A resident, Abdullah Shabak, said that the country has been waiting for pressure to be put on "Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and on this alliance to stop the aggressive war on the Yemeni people since five years" and deplored that "only the coronavirus epidemic pressured them."

"But the question that arises is whether after two weeks the coalition will stop the war forever," he added.

So far, Yemen has not reported any case of COVID-19 yet, while bordering Saudi Arabia registered over 3,200 infected citizens and 44 deaths of the disease.

In five years since its beginning, the Yemeni war has killed over 100,000 people, triggering the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the UN reports.‚Äč

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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