JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Monday recorded 3,369 new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the highest daily count since the start of the outbreak in early March.
The shock figure coincided with a move by authorities to close 71 mosques in cities throughout the Kingdom after 19 worshippers and mosque employees were found to have contracted the virus.
Health officials also announced that another 34 people had died with COVID-19, taking the death toll in the country to 746.
It was the third day in a row that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Kingdom had risen above the 3,000 mark, a significant increase on a month ago when the daily rate was around half of that figure, according to Ministry of Health data.
The latest cases linked to mosques prompted the decision by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance to shut 71 places of worship to allow for disinfection and sterilization to take place.
On May 31, Saudi Arabia had given the green light for the reopening of 90,000 mosques in the Kingdom, which had been closed for two months, on the condition that worshippers maintained 2 meters between rows, used face masks and brought their own prayer rugs.
As the battle to control the spread of the virus continued, Saudi Arabia took delivery of 14 million face masks flown into King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah on Monday from the Chinese city of Guangzhou.
The Saudi Food and Drug Authority will check the products to ensure they comply with quality and safety specifications before distributing them to health authorities across the country.
The total number of COVID-19 infections in the Kingdom currently stands at 105,283, with 30,013 active cases of which 1,632 patients were being treated in intensive care units.
Health ministry officials on Monday reported 1,707 new recoveries, taking the total number to 74,524. The current recovery rate was running at a steady 70 percent.
Children made up of 11 percent of Monday’s recorded cases, with 5 percent involving people above the age of 65. Over a 24-hour period, the ministry tested 18,578 suspected cases, increasing the total number of tests conducted so far to 976,815.