JEDDAH: Ten cases involving a variant of the coronavirus have been detected in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday, adding that all those infected recovered.
“Thousands of variants have been detected since the beginning of the pandemic globally,” Dr. Al-Abd Al-Aly, the ministry’s spokesman, said. “This is common behavior for this type of virus.”
Health experts have warned that mutations are expected as the virus spreads across the globe.
Authorities are keeping a close watch on the situation while experts search thousands of coronavirus genetic sequences for mutations that might have changed the virus’ behavior during 2020.
“The Kingdom took measures following reports of the highly contagious coronavirus variant. These included detecting, isolating and following up with travelers returning from abroad. Gene sequencing tests were carried out in order to detect variants, a process that can take between 10-12 days,” Al-Aly said.
After 10 cases with a variant were identified, steps were taken to ensure the safety of 27 individuals who had come into contact with those infected.
“After testing the 27 individuals, we can thankfully confirm they tested negative. All 10 have recovered and there are currently no active cases with the variant,” he said.
Al-Aly told Thursday’s press conference that the Kingdom is now in control of the spread of the virus, with cases steadily declining in recent months to record lows.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has fallen by almost 98 percent. Saudi Arabia on Thursday reported six new coronavirus-related deaths. The death toll now stands at 6,268.
A total of 108 new cases were reported in the Kingdom, meaning 363,485 people have now contracted the disease. There are 2,170 active cases, 328 in a critical condition.
In addition, 138 more patients recovered from the infection, bringing the total number of recoveries to 355,037.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 11,250,266 polymerase chain reaction tests, with 36,161 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Al-Aly warned people against spreading rumors about the vaccine and said only official sources should be relied on for information.
More than 137,860 people have been vaccinated so far, with over a million registering for inoculation, he said.