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Arabic press review: Coronavirus adds to Aden's epidemic crisis

Meanwhile, a Gulf newspaper reveals new diplomatic contacts are being made to resolve GCC political crisis; and Algeria seeks to impose a wealth tax on its rich population
Mask-clad health workers enter the private al-Kubi Hospital in Aden on May 17 amid fears that coronavirus is spreading unhindered in the city (AFP)

Coronavirus adds to Aden's epidemic disaster

Yemen's southern city of Aden has become a "disaster city" due to the spread of coronavirus and other epidemics in the absence of adequate medical services, according to the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

Aden is the headquarters of the Saudi-backed government and of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC), which controls most parts of the city.

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The number of deaths in Aden province since the beginning of May has exceeded 810 from coronavirus and other epidemics, according to statistics issued by the Civil Registry Department in Aden.

Official Yemeni sources described the statistics as "a frightening number that transformed Aden into a terrifying city, in a disaster that was not witnessed even during the worst days of the war when the Houthis invaded it between March and July 2015."

Medical sources told Al-Quds Al-Arabi that "strange epidemics in addition to Covid-19 have spread rapidly during the past few weeks in the city of Aden.

"Their spread has increased since the end of April and led to an uncontrollable health situation, as public and private hospitals and doctors have been unable to contain it or provide any services commensurate with the size of the pandemic," the sources added.

The sources clarified that "the size of the pandemic in Aden province is greater than the modest or worn-out capacities in Aden" to deal with it.

The problem has been aggravated by the almost complete absence of medical services from state institutions or the STC, which also controls cities neighbouring Aden.

They also pointed out that the spread of unknown diseases in addition to the coronavirus escalated after the heavy rains last month, and Aden was subjected to a torrential wave of floods that swept neighbourhoods and streets, destroyed many public and private properties, and ravaged streets, buildings and facilities.

New calls to solve the Gulf crisis

Kuwaiti sources revealed new calls between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to solve the crisis that erupted in June 2017, confirming that "Kuwait still plays an important role in these calls", according to the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas.

"Well-informed sources" said that "contacts have been made recently between GCC officials, in which Kuwait played an important and decisive role by following up the political leadership with the aim of ending the Gulf disagreement", according to the newspaper.

The diplomatic crisis was set off when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off ties with Qatar in 2017 over allegations of terrorism and fostering closer ties with Iran, which Doha denies. 

The Kuwaiti sources said the renewal of contacts was based on the importance of facing the current challenges in the region, and sought to overcome rumours aiming at the division of Gulf countries.

They also stressed that "the Kuwaiti-Gulf contacts are still going on, and have not and will not stop, to settle the Gulf political atmospheres and support the unity of the GCC."

Algeria to impose wealth tax

The Algerian government is seeking to impose progressive taxation on the rich, of 1 percent for every 450 million dinars (about $3.5m), according to the London-based newspaper Al-Arabi Al Jadeed.

The proposed tax includes all those who have a minimum of 100 million dinars, as included in the supplementary Finance Bill (supplementary budget) for 2020.

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The Property Bill exempted properties that constitute the main housing when their value is less than 450 million dinars, leased real estates, furniture, jewellery, gems, gold and precious metals, as well as debts, deposits, guarantees, and insurance contracts in case of death.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye