Coronavirus prompts Saudi-led coalition to declare two-week ceasefire in Yemen
Impoverished Yemen has so far not recorded any case of Covid-19 but aid groups are concerned that when and if it does hit, the impact will be catastrophic in a country already facing what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis MOHAMMED HUWAIS AFP

Saudi officials say the coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen will begin a cease-fire starting Thursday.

The officials told journalists Wednesday night that the decision was in response to U.N. calls to halt hostilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

They said the cease-fire will be for two weeks, during which the coalition will support U.N. efforts to bring the rival parties to the table for talks.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said earlier this month that warring parties in 11 countries had responded positively to his appeal for a global cease-fire to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement comes as heavy fighting in Yemen between pro-government forces and the Houthis killed more than 270 people in the past 10 days, government officials and tribal leaders said Wednesday.