MOH News
COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Holds its 38th Meeting
28 March 2020

​On Saturday afternoon, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 38th meeting. Chaired by the Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq 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 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, and spokesman for higher education at the Ministry of Education, Mr. Tariq Alahmari. The MOH spokesman mentioned that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has amounted to 597,000 cases, of which 133,000 cases have recovered to date. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 27,000.

 “99 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Kingdom,” said Al-Abdulaali. “These include 10 cases coming from abroad and are currently quarantined. While the remaining 89 cases have been in contact with previously reported cases.” Al-Abdulaali pointed out that these new cases were recorded in the following cities: 41 in Riyadh, 12 in Makkah, 18 in Jeddah, 12 in Al-Qatif, 6 in Madinah, 3 in Tabuk, 3 in Khamis Mushayt, 1 in Abha, 1 in Al-Hafouf, 1 in Khobar and 1 in Saihat.  

This brings the total cases tested positive for COVID-19 in the Kingdom up to 1,203 cases, all of whom receive medical care and their conditions are stable; with the exception of four critical cases, and one death of a citizen in Riyadh. This is added to a previous death, bringing the total deaths to 4. Whereas additional two cases have recovered, bringing the total recovered cases to 37. He stressed the continuity of health efforts to prevent society from this global pandemic, indicating that the total advanced laboratory tests exceeded 51,000 tests, and the percentage of examinations for the population is among the top 10 countries in the world. He called on everyone with symptoms  or likes to have assessment to use the self-assessment service on "Mawid" service or call the 937 for any inquiry, 24/7.

For his part, the Spokesman for Higher Education at the Ministry of Education, Mr. Tariq Alahmari thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince for their keenness and support for the students and said that the Ministry of Education's preparations to confront the coronavirus began on the 1st of February at the directives of the Minister of Education. These preparations include updating emergency plans, raising readiness and awareness campaigns, and preparing university hospitals and health centers to integrate with the efforts of MOH and relevant authorities.

On the 8th of March, the precautionary decision to suspend studying was issued. On the second day, the education in universities was shifted to distance education. The universities have successfully launched the new system due to the fact that all of them have distance learning deanships and a good technical structure. He pointed out the university platforms have 1,420,000 available contents, and the active users amounted to 993,000, and that the files reviewed on the university platforms reached an average of 6 million visits daily. He added that more than 133 master's and doctoral thesis were discussed remotely in Saudi universities during the past period.

He explained that, in line with the national efforts, the ministry has provided 6 university hospitals (with the capacity of around 3,000 beds), and through 20 universities the ministry has provided 77 buildings for medical isolation, including 6,000 rooms and suites, and the number of beds exceeded 9,045 beds in the event that they are needed.

Alahmari indicated that the ministry confirmed the continuation of the virtual education process for all educational levels, including diploma, master's and doctoral degrees, according to the academic calendar approved by the Cabinet. He urged all students to continue their distance education on their universities' platforms and thanked all teaching staff and students for their outstanding usage of distance learning. He noted that the ministry is continuously following up with universities to ensure the fairness of the measures taken regarding the exams in such exceptional situations, in order to facilitate fair completion of the semester, adding that any new developments will be announced through the ministry's official platforms.

He pointed out that the Saudi cultural attaches closely follow up all latest developments with the scholarship students, and instructions were issued by the Minister of Education to cancel the requirement for distance education hours in scholarship programs for the current semester, as long as the current situation remains. He added that the students were given the option to postpone the current semester if the competent authorities announce the possibility of returning to the Kingdom for whoever wanted to return, and it will not be counted in the scholarship period given the current circumstances and in order to ensure the safety of students. He indicated that there are 59,658 students and 33,235 dependents abroad, or a total of 92,893 students and dependents. 

Concluding his statement, Alahmari thanked all university presidents, vice presidents, teaching staff and students for their outstanding efforts in continuing the educational process, stressing that education will continue in your homes. 






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