MOH News
COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Holds Its 36th Meeting
26 March 2020

​On Thursday afternoon, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 36th meeting. Chaired by the Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfik bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, the meeting was attended by the committee members, who represent the relevant government agencies. During the meeting, all relevant COVID-19 updates and reports were reviewed. The committee has discussed the global epidemiological situation, as well as the cases reported locally and their health condition. 

All precautionary measures carried out at the points of entry into the Kingdom will continue in full, the Committee stressed, and will be further tightened. The Committee commended the citizens’ compliance with the curfew, and called on them to stay home, and refrain from going unless extremely necessary (during the hours when going out is permissible).

The meeting was followed by a joint press conference, the participants in which included Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali, MOH spokesman, Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, Ministry of Interior spokesman, and Abdul-Rahman Al-Hussein, Ministry of Commerce spokesman. The MOH spokesman mentioned that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has amounted 470,000 cases, of which 115,000 cases have recovered to date. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 21,000.

“112 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Kingdom,” said Al-Abdulaali. “These include 12 cases coming from abroad, and are currently quarantined. While the remaining 100 cases have been in contact with previously reported cases.” Al-Abdulaali pointed out that these new cases were recorded in the following cities: 34 in Riyadh, 26 in Makkah, 18 in Taif, 13 in Jeddah, 6 in Dammam, 5 in Al-Qatif, 3 in Madinah, 2 in Al-Khobar, 2 in Al-Hofuf, 1 in Dhahran, 1 in Buraydah, and 1 in Khafji. This brings the total cases tested positive for COVID-19 in the Kingdom up to 1,012 cases, of whom the health condition is mostly stable; with the exception of 6 critical cases receiving intensive care. 

In addition, one death was recorded: a Madinah-based resident who was previously reported as a confirmed case and suffered from diabetes, hypertension and heart failure. This brings the COVID-19 deaths in KSA to 3. Meanwhile, 4 additional cases were recovered, bringing the total recoveries thus far up to 33.

Al-Abdulaali revealed that the reported 1,012 confirmed cases include 23 health professionals, who were detected thanks to the epidemiological surveillance and contact-tracing measures currently in place. “No health facility has witnessed spread of the virus, thanks be to Allah, with the exception of a private health facility in Riyadh, which was immediately put under control, and closed as a precautionary measure,” he said.

He stressed that everyone should stick to the preventive health precautions recommended by MOH, for the safety of their health and their community. Such precautions include avoiding hand-shaking, washing hands with water and soap over and over again, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, disposing napkins, staying home as much as possible, keeping away from gatherings, and never going out unless a strong need arises. As for those coming from abroad, they must self-isolate themselves for 14 days.​

The MOH spokesman reiterated the importance of self-assessment against the COVID-19 symptoms, making use of the ‘Mawid’ service, provided by MOH for all citizens and residents. He went on to warn against rumors, and encourage everybody to get information from the authentic sources, most importantly the MOH announcements. “Anyone who experiences symptoms, or has a question can call the 937 Service Center which works around the clock,” said the MOH spokesman.

For his part, the MOI spokesman, Lt. Col. Al-Shalhoub, made clear that the security men, along with the supporting military forces, have embarked on enforcing the curfew on the roads linking the Kingdom’s regions to one another, as well as inside the cities of Riyadh, Makkah, and Madinah. “All agricultural, coastal and dusty roads and pathways are in the grip of security men,” he stressed. Besides, he added, some of those who spread rumors and undermined the curfew were arrested and referred to the competent authorities. Meanwhile, he praised the compliance shown by everyone — citizens and residents alike — with the curfew order.

“We all should uphold the spirit of cooperation,” he added. “And we should adhere to the precautionary health measures recommended by the competent authorities.” He called on everyone to use the MOI’s online services during the curfew hours, as well as the online services and mobile applications provided by the other government agencies. Those services and applications, he explained, are designed to help individuals with their needs, without having to attend in person at any government agency. 

Speaking of the movement of the exempted categories during the curfew hours, Al-Shalhoub pointed out that, in order for anyone who belongs to one of those exempted categories to move during the curfew hours, they must carry a professional card, in addition to a certificate issued by the employer, stating their home-work route. Such a certificate does not entitle its holder to travel between cities or regions, he warned, except in cases of extreme work necessity.
 “In cases a curfew-breaking vehicle is used by more than one person, the violation shall be charged against the individuals rather than the vehicle,” he said.

The MOC spokesman, Abdul-Rahman Al-Hussein, revealed a package of new measures, all meant to preserve the health and safety of both citizens and residents. As part of those new measures, he expounded, every shop or store should allow only a few shoppers to get in, in an effort to ensure observance of the health precautions in full. Varying from shop to another, the number of shoppers begins with 25 individuals. That number can be increased in a manner that is commensurate with the space, as recommended by MOH. 

“You may see people who wait outside a shop, waiting for their turn to get in; this should not be viewed as overcrowding,” he said. “In all our activities, carried out with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs as well as shops and stores, we show a keen interest in observing the recommended 1.5-2m distance, with a view to ensuring the strictest health precautions possible.”

Al-Hussein mentioned that, to date, the Ministry has conducted over 6,000 inspection tours. As for the violations reported all over the Kingdom over the past 72 hours, they amounted to more than 4,000. Furthermore, the inspection crews have detected 10 million items (mainly face masks and sanitizers) that were meant to be illegally sold in the black market. Those items were returned to the market to be sold at a fair price. 

“Online home-delivery services, as well as online stores, are all available so that consumers can order whatever they want without having to go out at all,” Al-Hussein said. “Out of their sense of responsibility, those stores provide special offers and discounts for the consumers who order online.” He encouraged everybody to make their orders at the beginning of non-curfew hours, and avoid ordering just before the curfew enters into force, to maintain their health and safety.






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