JEDDAH: Following strict precautionary measures, the number of new coronavirus cases in the eastern Saudi city of Qatif has drastically fallen.
The city was locked down two weeks ago to contain the spread of the virus, and so far only four new cases have been reported, said Saudi health authorities on Sunday.
The current situation in Qatif shows that the spread of the virus in the city has been contained due to the steps taken by the authorities, said Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly at a press conference. “The infection rate has fallen, which is very reassuring for the people of Qatif,” he added.
The ministry confirmed 119 new cases nationwide on Sunday, pushing the total number in the country to 511.
Most of the cases reported on Sunday had been in contact with those who had earlier contracted the virus, a trend the spokesman described as “worrying.”
Of the 119 new cases, 72 were reported in Makkah and are Turkish nationals. “All of them were infected from people who had earlier tested positive for the virus,” the spokesman said.
Another 40 of the new cases were involved in a social gathering with previously announced cases.
Al-Aly stressed that people must limit their movements, stay home, and avoid gatherings and activities of any kind.
“This is unfortunate. We’ve repeatedly warned against social gatherings, whether inside or outside homes. Even a group of 10 people or less is dangerous,” he said, adding that further preventive measures, such as a curfew in any other area of the country, cannot be ruled out.
He stressed that everyone who is instructed to remain in quarantine should commit to the 14-day period.
The number of people currently in quarantine and domestic isolation under the ministry’s mentorship is 4,000, while the cumulative total exceeds 10,000.
“It isn’t enough to maintain personal hygiene and avoid contact. All of these measures are important but not enough. Contact is very dangerous for adults, young people and children alike. Please be careful,” Al-Aly said.
“The matter isn’t limited to the efforts of governments. Everyone must be aware of their responsibility to protect themselves and those around them.”
He urged citizens and residents to avoid traveling between cities unless absolutely necessary. He also invited everyone to benefit from the ministry’s services, such as its hotline 937, and its Mawid and Seha apps.
The city-wise breakdown of the new cases of coronavirus is Makkah (72), Riyadh (43), Qatif (4), Al-Ahsa (3), Alkhobar (3), Dhahran (1) and Dammam (1).