JEDDAH: A concerning rise in daily coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia has been blamed on failures to follow health protocols at growing numbers of social gatherings.
The Kingdom’s daily coronavirus tally has climbed above the 200 mark in recent weeks, with Riyadh leading in case numbers among the regions.
A total of 270 new cases were reported on Saturday by the Ministry of Health, raising the overall figure to 367,813 since the pandemic began in March last year.
For months, the number of active cases declined significantly while daily recoveries exceeded new cases. But following a number of violations in past weeks, active cases have fluctuated between 1,900 and 2,200 as authorities across the Kingdom’s regions warn against social gatherings and ignorance of health and safety protocols.
There are now 2,142 active cases, 352 of which are in critical care.
Across the regions, Riyadh recorded 105 new cases, the Eastern Province 66, Makkah 40 and Madinah 16. The other regions recorded fewer than 10 cases each, with Jazan recording only a single case on Saturday.
About 300 new recoveries were reported on Saturday, raising the total number to 359,299. The recovery rate is holding steady at 97.6 percent.
According to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, Riyadh is leading in recovery numbers nationwide with more than 60,000, followed by Makkah with 34,259, Jeddah in close third with 33,968 and Madinah with 22,530.
Other cities have reported fewer than 20,000 recoveries. Saturday saw four new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the Kingdom’s death toll to 6,372.
About 12.2 million PCR tests have been conducted over the course of the pandemic, with more than 36,000 completed in the past 24 hours.
Though the Kingdom will remain under flight lockdown until May 17, exceptions are being made for citizens in designated categories to travel abroad.
The General Directorate of Passports said on Twitter that citizens are only provided one permit to a requested destination, adding that changing destinations is forbidden and citizens must travel within 30 days of being issued a travel permit.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has continued to warn residents to follow advice and heed announcements from authorities. The ministry is fact-checking claims and rumors being circulated on social media regarding the Kingdom’s COVID-19 case count.
“We trust in beneficiary awareness, and we are keen to receive information and all publications from official sources,” the body said.
“There is an official account of the Ministry of Health on the Twitter platform, in which reliable and confirmed information is provided to all. Please refer back to the account and do not rely on anonymous sources.”