RIYADH: The Ministry of Interior confirmed on Sunday that an expected rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases due to the mid-year school holidays had taken place.
It reiterated that citizens should continue to follow the health and safety protocols issued since the pandemic started.
Speaking at a joint ministerial press conference on Sunday, Interior Ministry spokesperson Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub said that in the past few days, Saudi authorities had announced a slight rise in new cases of COVID-19 across the Kingdom.
“This is attributed to the laxity by a few members in the community in following proper protocols put in place to combat the spread of the virus, as well as continuing to attend gatherings with numbers over the limits imposed by the government during the mid-year school holiday,” he said.
No more than 50 people can meet in private. Over 84,000 violations were recorded between mid-December to mid-Jan.
“It is in everyone’s interest to avoid any gatherings that do not comply with the necessary protocols, or do not follow the health and safety regulations put in place by the authorities to combat the spread,” he added.
He stressed that people should continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings as the pandemic is still ongoing.
“We want to reiterate that police and security will be following up on compliance with health and safety protocols, and recording violations such as refusing to wear a mask, and the continued hosting and attendance of large gatherings in all parts of the Kingdom, including residential areas, recreational centers, and smaller villages,” he said.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) recorded 186 new COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, raising the total number of infections to 366,371.
MoH spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly announced a 29 percent rise in confirmed cases in the past week compared to the previous week, which could be due to an increase in social activities during the winter break between the two semesters. A 4 percent increase in critical care patients was also announced.
“By adhering to protocols, we will ensure a decline and stabilize the numbers again,” he said.
The number of active cases was reported to be 2,080, with 331 reported to be in critical care.
The ministry also reported 211 new recoveries, bringing the total number up to 357,939. The Kingdom’s recovery rate is holding steady at 97.6 percent.
In the past 24 hours, the Kingdom reported just two deaths, bringing the total number to 6,352 since the pandemic began.