JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s COVID-19 infection rate is fluctuating a week after a nationwide lifting of curfews, health authorities warned.
Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly told a press conference on Sunday that the infection curve is rising again and urged people to follow medical advice to limit the spread of the illness.
He said that the infection rate, or R number, in the Kingdom is now between 1 and 1.5, but is fluctuating.
If the R number is greater than one, the infection will spread exponentially, Al-Aly warned.
“Countries are advised (by experts) to keep the value below one in order for the infection to slowly die out,” he added.
The R number refers to the number of people each infected person will pass the virus on to on average.
Al-Aly said that 68 percent of COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia have recovered from the illness.
The ministry announced 2,627 new COVID-19 recoveries in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number in the Kingdom to 124,755.
A total of 3,989 new cases were reported nationwide, meaning 182,493 people have now contracted the disease. Of these, 56,187 are active cases, with 2,277 in serious or critical condition.
The Kingdom recorded 40 new coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, raising the total to 1,551.
“Critical cases are considered a high number, but remain settled in recent days. However, they are related to cases that have contracted the disease in the past weeks,” Al-Aly said.
The ministry has carried out 1,608,025 polymerase chain reaction tests since the virus outbreak in the country.
Abdullah Al-Gwizani, CEO of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the center has developed and published 40 health protocols, including preventive measures for institutions and sectors across the Kingdom.
“These protocols were formulated in three stages — first, understanding the needs and assessing the risks; then studying the best global experiences; and, finally, drafting and publishing the protocols,” he said.
“However, these protocols cannot be effective and save the community if not implemented by all.”