The Kingdom’s promptness in making wise decisions since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease to protect citizens and residents has won global praise.
Saudi Arabia’s efforts in providing free health services and top-class quarantine facilities are laudable at a time when many advanced European countries are finding it difficult to serve their own citizens.
In the wake of the global pandemic, health care systems in the world’s most advanced countries failed but Saudi Arabia succeeded in implementing the mandated measures of the Vision 2030 to preserve the health of citizens and residents and to ensure a safe environment in the most difficult circumstances.
Saudi Arabia was quick in taking early preventive measures such as closure of airports, suspension of flights, closure of educational institutions, partial curfews, 24-hour lockdowns and imposition of restrictions on intercity movement etc. At the onset of the crisis, the health authorities did not waste time in setting up quarantine facilities to effectively tackle the situation.
These measures may have been taken in response to the ongoing global crisis but Saudi Arabia had been working to strengthening its health care services as envisaged in the Vision 2030 program, which was announced more than four years ago.
Since the launch of the Vision 2030 initiatives, health authorities had been continuously working to upgrade the health facilities in the Kingdom along modern lines and those efforts made it easier for Saudi Arabia to tackle the COVID-19 crisis head on.
Saudi Arabia has successfully set itself up as an ideal role model to be followed by other top economies who would like to become accustomed with the Saudi management of the health crisis that the world is going through.
Ironically, prior to the COVID-19 crisis some European nations used to be the top destinations for medical treatment and tourism for many people. However, the viral outbreak changed the situation as citizens from these nations refused to leave the Kingdom’s top-class medical and health care system.
Unfortunately, the European health care system that was envied by many around the world failed to tackle the health crisis. This failure also places a big question mark over the medical system of these nations. Moreover, food security in those nations has also become questionable. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has become a destination that many would dream of after many non-Saudis refused to return to their homes during this exceptional critical time.
Citing figures and statistics, the health and food security in many European nations failed to contain this pandemic while we are still enjoying medical and food security in the Kingdom.
The Saudi authorities made huge efforts to ensure uninterrupted supply of food items and essential commodities despite partial curfews and 24-hour lockdown. The public and private sectors in the Kingdom have joined hands to provide relief to the masses by introducing online delivery services for grocery shopping and medicines etc.
The interaction of the health and food system and the provision of its services as soon as possible indicates the integration of all government sectors in the Kingdom. This is one of the great outcomes of Saudi Vision 2030.
Everyone is overwhelmed by the abundance of food supplies during these difficult days and the availability of medicines 24/7 is also a huge relief.
We did not notice any depletion of food items and essential commodities in stores as has been experienced by people in other countries. The Kingdom has the largest food stocks in the Middle East as the Ministry of Trade stated, which has strengthened confidence in the Kingdom’s management during the crisis.
• Dr. Fatma Jobran is an interior environmental design professional. She also writes on energy economics, renewable energy, urbanization and environmental design. She tweets @Dr_FatmaJobran