Saudi Arabia remains free of coronavirus

Passengers coming from China wearing masks to prevent a new coronavirus are checked by Saudi Health Ministry employees upon their arrival at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 29, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 04 February 2020

Saudi Arabia remains free of coronavirus

  • Precautionary measures in place to keep virus at bay

RIYADH: The Saudi Health Ministry reaffirmed on Monday that the Kingdom remained free of coronavirus and the authorities are taking all measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Arrangements are in place at the Kingdom’s airports to screen passengers arriving from China via direct and indirect flights.
Quarantine rooms have also been established in hospitals to tackle any untoward situation.
The health chiefs, meanwhile, declared 10 Saudi students flown home from Wuhan in China this week free from any infection.
The group will remain in quarantine under full medical supervision for two weeks, while further tests are carried out. Video footage posted on social media showed them relaxing in their special accommodation inside a Saudi health facility.
The students were the only Saudis in Wuhan, where the new coronavirus was first identified on Dec. 1. About 800 Saudis, mainly women and children, had flown home from other parts of China, the Saudi Ambassador in Beijing, Turki Al-Madi, told Arab News.
“We are helping all Saudis in China and facilitating the return of the remaining families,” he said.  The ambassador said he believed the Chinese authorities were doing a good job in containing the spread of the disease.

HIGHLIGHT

• Passengers arriving from China via direct and indirect flights are being screened.

• A command and control center has been established at the Health Ministry.

• Quarantine rooms have also been established in hospitals to tackle any untoward situation.

Since the outbreak of the virus, a command and control center has been established at the Health Ministry to ensure coordinated efforts to keep the virus at bay.
The center, in cooperation with relevant authorities, is implementing international health regulations required under such circumstances and as recommended by the World Health Organization.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
In severe cases, the infection can lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory syndrome.
The virus has infected more than 17,000 people in 27 countries, and killed 362, almost all in China. Saudis had “no need to panic” if they took preventive measures, Dr. Aisha Metwali, coordinator at the infection control department of King Abdul Aziz Hospital in Jeddah, told Arab News.
These included attention to basic hygiene, and avoiding large gatherings and crowded places, she said.


Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister

Updated 07 April 2020

Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister

  • Minister added it was vital the public cooperated with the government’s instructions and precautionary measures

RIYADH: The number of COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia could reach up to 200,000 within a few weeks, according to the Kingdom’s health minister.

Citing four Saudi and international studies on Tuesday, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the case figure is likely to see a constant increase rather than a decrease, Saudi Press Agency reported.

"Within the next few weeks, studies predict the number of infections will range from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 200,000," Al-Rabiah said.

The minister added it was vital the public cooperated with the government’s instructions and precautionary measures to limit the number of infections.

“There is no doubt that our commitment to the instructions and procedures, in its entirety reduces the number of cases to the minimum, while non-compliance will lead to a huge increase in the number of cases,” he said.

“We stand today at a decisive moment as a society in raising our sense of responsibility and contributing together with determination to stop the spread of this pandemic,”

Many people were not taking the dangers of the pandemic seriously enough, according to the health minister, adding that the Kingdom had death with the crisis with full “transparency and clarity.”

The Saudi health ministry also announced on Tuesday that there were a total of 2,795 confirmed cases and the death toll from the virus in the Kingdom had reached 41.

A 24-hour curfew and lockdown has been imposed in the cities of Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran and Al-Hofuf and in the governorates of Jeddah, Taif, Qatif and Khobar in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Last week, King Salman issued a decree which ordered treatment to be available for anyone in need of medical care, including people who have overstayed their visa in the Kingdom.