MoH reports one MERS death, more infections

Updated 20 March 2016

MoH reports one MERS death, more infections

JEDDAH: The Command and Control Center at the Ministry of Health announced the death of a citizen in his 40s in Al-Kharj province after he was infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
According to a report in a local publication on Saturday, the center also announced two new cases in people in their 60s in Buraidah. These infections are currently under investigation.
In Jubail, a citizen in his 60s recovered from the virus and left hospital in good condition.
Al-Qassim residents earlier welcomed a piece of good news stating that their region was free of death and infectious cases during the past two weeks, but their relief lasted only until the center announced Thursday two new cases isolated at Buraidah Central Hospital, which was allocated for coronavirus infections.
In a related development, the director of health awareness and the training department at the Qassim Health Department, Manahi Al-Shammary, commended the great success achieved through the extensive awareness activities held to combat coronavirus and prevent its spread.
He referred to the keenness of the Qassim Health Department on actively and positively participating in such awareness programs, with the cooperation of other health and supervisory sectors, which are aimed at promoting and developing a culture of health in society.


Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 41 min 41 sec ago

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

  • Curfew to be eased on Sunday, except in Makkah, as domestic travel permitted
  • All curfews in Saudi Arabia to be lifted by June 20

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced the easing of restrictions that has halted much of the activity in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday 31, May, the curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown.

On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted.

Before then, social distancing guidelines must continue to be adhered to and gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned.

Authorities have also allowed the attendance at ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, and the return of their office activities.

Some economic and commercial activities will also be allowed to take place including those at wholesale and retail shops, as well as malls. Cafes will be permitted to operate once more.

However, all job sectors where social distancing rules are harder to achieve such as beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice.

The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it.

Earlier, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the health minister, said: “The phases start gradually until we return to normalcy, with its new concept based on social distancing.” 

He added that the precautionary steps taken by the Kingdom early in the outbreak helped to limit the spread of the virus. 

Now, he said, the ministry has developed a plan for the next phase that relies on two main factors: The capacity of the health care system to cope with critical cases, and the expansion of testing to identify new infections as soon as possible.

Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.” 

The Kingdom recorded 2,235 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total to 74,795, and the death toll rose by nine to 399. Worldwide the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people and killed nearly 350,000.