Saudi Arabia’s daily virus count stabilizing

A woman, wearing a protective face mask, sanitises a machine before a training session at a gym in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 July 2020

Saudi Arabia’s daily virus count stabilizing

  • Highest daily recovery count recorded since start of pandemic

JEDDAH: The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and critical care admissions in Saudi Arabia saw a slight decrease on Tuesday, according to a Ministry of Health spokesman.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Ali told a regular press briefing that the number of daily confirmed cases were stabilizing and had decreased since last week’s count. This week’s numbers are between 2,000-3,000.

“We’ve also noticed the number of critical care patients (admitted to ICUs) has decreased by 1.5 percent since last week,” he said. “As we adhere to the precautionary measures and health protocols, we’ll surely be heading toward a more positive outcome.”

The spokesman said that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests would continue and were being conducted and analyzed to the highest standards. More than 2.37 million PCR tests have been conducted so far and 40,799 were carried out in the past 24 hours.

Saudi Arabia recorded 7,718 new recoveries from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily recovery count in the Kingdom since the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic on March 11. 

The recovery rate has increased to 74.6 percent, with the number of recoveries reaching 177,560. The highest daily recovery count was recorded over a month ago when it passed 5,200.

Saudi Arabia recorded 2,692 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, raising the number of confirmed cases so far to 237,803 since the beginning of the pandemic. There are currently 57,960 active cases in the Kingdom, with 2,230 people in critical care.

Jeddah recorded the highest number of confirmed cases with 263, followed by Al-Hofuf with 220 and Riyadh with 211. There were 40 new fatalities, raising the number of deaths to 2,283.

Meanwhile, 132 people have been treated through blood plasma samples from recovered patients of COVID-19. The initiative was launched in April and aims at testing the effectiveness of plasma in treating advanced cases of the disease.

The ministry said preliminary results showed that the treatment posed no danger to patients and was effective, especially on patients in the early stages of infection.

Antibodies in plasma play an important role in helping the human body to recover from serious health issues. Recovered patients willing to participate in the study are allowed to do so after the second sample test results are negative and they have completed their 14-day home quarantine.

Saudi women embrace COVID-19 measures at driving schools

Updated 59 min 6 sec ago

Saudi women embrace COVID-19 measures at driving schools

  • Students are not allowed to head to class until 15 minutes before it starts in order to monitor the degree of socialization and distancing between them

JEDDAH: Women in Saudi Arabia have been able to resume driving lessons and license applications, but with a few changes as the country eases restrictions and cautiously returns to normality amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Kingdom’s return to normality began on June 21 and businesses were allowed to continue their activities, but only by implementing the safety regulations and directives from the Ministry of Interior to ensure everyone’s safety.

Regulations at women’s driving schools include maintaining a minimum 1-meter distance between people in waiting areas and classrooms, providing hand sanitizers, disinfecting the area at least twice a day, checking the temperature of visitors and workers and refusing entry to anyone with a temperature of over 38° C.

There is also the provision for an onsite room to hold people suspected of being infected, and the appointment of a monitoring body to eliminate social gatherings between classes or in waiting areas and parking lots.

For Sahar Al-Shenawi, a deputy director at a corporate communications firm in Jeddah, these precautions could save her father’s life.

“My father is on dialysis and I’m always taking care of him and giving his medication,” she told Arab News. “I was very surprised to see how prepared they were when I returned (to driving school). It made me feel safe.”

Al-Shenawi was asked to show her ID upon arrival and get her temperature checked before entering the building.

“Seats in the waiting hall and classrooms were a meter apart and very clean. The room was also well ventilated. Everyone was wearing a mask, and instructors and employees would tell everyone coming in not to take off their mask for the duration of their stay.”

Students are not allowed to head to class until 15 minutes before it starts in order to monitor the degree of socialization and distancing between them.

Al-Shenawi began her theory classes this week and she noticed that the length of sessions had decreased from two hours to one to ensure students did not spend too much unnecessary time together.

After class, the instructor escorts five students at a time to minimize overcrowding.

“The theory and simulation parts of the course were merged, because the practical sessions are more important,” she said. “Their examination was canceled, while the first hour is to be spent on theory education and the second on simulation practice.” She added that their preparedness had made her feel very comfortable.

“Precautions should be taken from both sides, not only the organization or the places we go to. These precautions are nowadays considered as social etiquette and manners, it shows how much an individual is responsible, aware and cares about the community and the people around him or her,” Al-Shenawi said, adding that she hoped people were careful with themselves and one another once they left their homes.

Bashayer Al-Mahmadi, a health insurance employee from Jeddah, had a similar experience at driving school. She was reassured when she entered the waiting area and saw that adjacent seats were empty, and was relieved by the sight of hand sanitizers at every corner.

“Only four individuals are allowed into the elevators, and social distancing was maintained throughout my visit to the school,” she told Arab News.

Al-Mahmadi recommended that schools ensured that classrooms had hand sanitizers in them, and for gloves to be distributed among students. “I didn’t notice any during my simulation lecture either, and I was a little disappointed.”