JEDDAH: People in Saudi Arabia have been told to stick to COVID-19 safety measures during Eid Al-Fitr holidays to avoid a surge in cases.
The warning came from the Ministry of Health during a press conference on Sunday. “We don’t want a repeat of last year’s Eid,” said ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly.
Saudi Arabia went into a full 24-hour lockdown for five days during the Eid Al-Fitr holidays in 2020. The ministry earlier this month denied rumors of another lockdown, but warned that authorities would remain vigilant.
The country’s daily case count continues to fluctuate and authorities have said that, although it could be a sign of the numbers stabilizing, the upcoming period would be crucial in determining the epidemiological curve.
At the press conference, the ministry reiterated that health and safety measures must be adhered to during the holidays and that people must follow the rules set by authorities.
More than 7,000 deaths of COVID-19 patients have been reported in the Kingdom since the beginning of the pandemic last year, with 19.5 percent of them in people who suffered from both diabetes and high blood pressure.
Those suffering from diabetes accounted for 14 percent of the deaths, 5.6 percent had blood pressure diseases, 5.5 percent were obese, 1.6 percent were patients with respiratory issues and 1.2 percent were due to a combination of diabetes and a heart attack.
“No deaths were reported of patients who received both jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine, including those with underlying conditions,” said the spokesman. “The vaccines are vital for the protection of all, and that includes people suffering from chronic diseases, they are the targeted and most vulnerable group that are encouraged to take the vaccine.”
“The vaccine rollout will continue even during the Eid holidays and I encourage all to schedule their appointments and stick to their reserved time slot,” said the spokesman.
There were a further 942 new cases reported on Sunday, raising the total number to 426,384. There were a further 1,064 new recoveries reported, raising this total to 409,740. There are currently 9,572 active cases, with 1,336 patients in intensive care units. There were 13 new coronavirus-related deaths reported, bringing the death toll to 7,072.
Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said earlier that operation plans for Ramadan had been implemented in two stages and successfully ensured that worshippers at the Grand Mosque were able to perform their rituals safely and with ease.
“Preparations during the first 20 days of Ramadan were at the utmost readiness, and all relevant authorities have since increased their preparedness during the last 10 days of Ramadan to increase pilgrim capacity and further ensure their safety and comfort,” he said. “With only a few days left, all of the implemented plans have been successful.”