RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s health ministry reported on Friday another 4,884 cases of COVID-19, as the omicron-fueled wave continues to surge.
The ministry also reported two deaths from the virus, bringing the total number of fatalities in the Kingdom to 8,916.
Despite the increased caseloads — 846 infections were reported on Jan. 1. — most omicron infections appear to be milder than some previous variants.
Authorities continue to urge the public to get vaccinated and heed health protocols.
Saudi Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said the country was currently going through a critical phase in tackling the spread of the virus.
He stressed the importance of people receiving the necessary vaccine doses and booster shots.
He also urged people to follow preventative measures such as wearing face masks, washing their hands, and maintaining social distance during the critical phase, with the ministry saying: “Our immunization is our life.”
The Kingdom has now recorded 643,211 cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic, 590,140 have since recovered.
After nearly two years away from their schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, pupils in Saudi Arabia will be heading back to classrooms this Sunday.
They return to a number of changes, including new social distancing rules in class, and the cancellation of morning assembly.
The education ministry has assured parents that kindergarten and elementary students will return to a safe learning environment.
Students were to initially return in October but that was delayed.
Omicron has caused headaches for many governments across the globe as the highly transmissible variant has hampered attempts to move on from a virus that has played havoc with lives and economies worldwide.
The variant, discovered by South African scientists in November, appears more capable of escaping the body’s immune system, even for those who have been vaccinated or have been infected previously.