JEDDAH: COVID-19 vaccines are safe, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health said Sunday as he rejected news that the Kingdom had halted the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for 48 hours.
More than 2.2 million people have received their COVID-19 jabs so far in Saudi Arabia.
Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said in a press conference that authorities were continuing to monitor the safety and efficacy of vaccines, which had not shown any concerning issues to date.
The Saudi Food and Drug Authority approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine last December and the import and use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca one in February.
The number of confirmed cases and critical cases have fluctuated in the past month, slightly decreasing and increasing without clear visibility or an indication of stabilizing.
He added the numbers were still unstable and that fluctuations continued to be a cause of concern for officials. “It’s vital that the community continues to adhere to health and safety protocols, the results of which will lead the curve to decline in due time.”
Saudi Arabia on Sunday reported 348 new cases of COVID-19, with 179 of these in the Riyadh region.
Makkah had 52 cases, the Eastern Province had 44 and Qassim had 13. Jazan and Baha reported four cases each.
There have been 382,407 confirmed infections reported in the country since the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago.
There are 3,137 active cases, 555 of which are in critical care, and there were 247 new recoveries. The total number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 is 372,703.
There were four more deaths due to complications from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 6,567.
More than 14.3 million PCR tests have been carried out in the Kingdom since the beginning of the pandemic, with 34,731 conducted in the past 24 hours.
Saudi authorities continued their monitoring campaigns to ensure compliance with the precautionary measures imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
They recorded 34,763 violations within one week, according to Interior Ministry statistics.
Riyadh recorded the highest number of violations with 13,071, followed by Makkah with 7,233, and the Eastern Province had 4,948 violations.
There were 2,261 violations recorded in Qassim, 1,648 in Madinah, 1,215 in Jouf, 966 in Tabuk, 812 in Baha, and 808 in Hail.
The Northern Borders region had 803 violations, Asir had 625, Jazan had 228 and Najran had 145.
The ministry called on everyone to keep following the preventive protocols and instructions issued by authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing closed 158 establishments for violating COVID-19 precautionary health measures.
It said that field teams in various regions and governorates had carried out 19,516 inspection tours of shops, food establishments and markets in one day.
Inspections resulted in the detection of 701 violations of health measures issued by the ministry and public health authorities as part of the Kingdom’s anti-coronavirus efforts.
It added that municipalities had shut 158 establishments and applied penalties according to regulations.
It stressed the importance of following preventive measures, placing stickers on floors to promote social distancing, providing sanitizers and temperature measuring devices at the entrances of commercial establishments, as well as using the Tawakkalna app.
The ministry said it was important to penalize violators to preserve public health and safety, adding that cooperation by commercial establishments in following preventive measures was also necessary.
It urged people to flag health violations by contacting the Municipal Reports Center on 940.