JEDDAH: Pilgrims returning home from Hajj do no need to test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or isolate upon arrival, said Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Health for Preventive Affairs Dr. Abdullah Asiri.
“Some returnees from Hajj this year are asking about the need for COVID-19 tests or isolation upon their return to their families,” he said. “Since all pilgrims and Hajj workers received vaccines, there is no need for examination or isolation, unless they show symptoms of coronavirus disease within the first two weeks.”
Meanwhile, 92 percent of those who said they would get the vaccine did so. “The three most important motives that persuaded the hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccines are: First, conviction and family support after one or more members have taken the vaccine. Second, national and societal sense of responsibility, and finally, economic reasons,” Asiri added.
According to a report by Kaiser Family Foundation titled “Vaccine Monitor: In Their Own Words, Six Months Later,” people who did not get the vaccine were either teenagers because of their parents’ convictions, the least educated in society, ethnic minorities, or those who do not have health insurance.
515,693 Total cases
10,742 Active cases
“There are three main reasons for refusing the vaccine: Fear of side effects, doubt about the adequacy of studies about the vaccine, and believing that there is no need for a vaccine,” Assiri added.
Speaking of the delta variant, Assiri said: “Delta reformulates the calculations; immunity from natural infections is no longer sufficient and completing the two doses has become a necessity.”
He added that the worst of the pandemic was over in countries that provided vaccines to most of their residents. “We will not witness, God willing, a return to waves of severe disease and deaths.”
The total number of people in the country who have to date received a jab against COVID-19 has reached 23,848,177, including 1,426,140 who are elderly.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia reported 11 more COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, taking the overall toll to 8,141.
There were 1,247 new cases, meaning that 515,693 people in the country have now contracted the disease. A total of 10,742 cases remained active, of which 1,383 patients were in critical condition.
Of the new cases, 263 were in Riyadh region, 211 in the Eastern Province, 209 in Makkah region, and 68 in Madinah region.
In addition, the Ministry of Health said 1,160 patients had recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 496,810.
Saudi Arabia had so far conducted 24,195,410 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with 90,128 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Among them, Taakad (make sure) centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual. Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.