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Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces declared Wednesday a two-week-long cease-fire in Yemen starting from Thursday amid coronavirus outbreak, according to local media.

The cease-fire could be extended, the official SPA news agency quoted coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki as saying.

Maliki said the move supports Yemeni government’s decision to accept the cease-fire call by UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as millions remain at risk of starvation.

Since emerging last December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has spread to at least 184 countries and regions.

There are almost 1.5 million confirmed infections worldwide, and with over 87,400 deaths, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. More than 317,600 patients have recovered.

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