JEDDAH: Saudi health chiefs on Monday warned members of the public to prepare for an increase in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Kingdom.
With infection rates on the rise throughout the world, changing weather conditions, and people dropping their guard over safety precautions, Ministry of Health officials predicted an upsurge in cases was inevitable.
Dr. Hani Joukhadar, the ministry’s undersecretary for public health, said: “Cases began to increase in most countries around the world, reaching unprecedented numbers in the US, England, France, Italy, and Spain.
“After numbers in these countries reached a stable status during the virus’ first wave, numbers in other countries began to increase, and this is expected to happen again.”
He added that a second wave of COVID-19 in many countries had come about following an easing of restrictions and people failing to adhere to precautionary measures.
“In Saudi Arabia, we expect an increase in cases as the weather is changing and more people are encouraged to go out and gather in homes. We also notice that people are less committed to wearing masks in public places,” Joukhadar said.
He hoped that awareness among Saudis and expats would help prevent a major second wave in the Kingdom but warned that the number of cases was still expected to increase.
Saudi Arabia announced 381 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, meaning that 348,037 people in the country had so far contracted the disease. There were 7,928 active cases receiving medical care, of which 755 patients were in serious or critical condition.
In addition, 436 patients have recovered, raising the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 334,672. The death toll now stands at 5,437 after 17 more people were reported to have died.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 8,151,353 polymerase chain reaction tests since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, and 53,819 were carried out in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Red Crescent Authority organized 216 ambulance volunteer teams, consisting of 1,744 helpers, to work at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to tackle medical cases in the past two weeks.
Around 257 reports were initiated in the Prophet’s Mosque and its squares, 243 cases were handled, and 86 cases were transferred to the emergency teams stationed in the Prophet’s Mosque or nearby health centers.