MOH News
Kingdom Has Abundant Quantities of Basic Food Commodities, COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Stresses​
30 March 2020

​​​On Monday afternoon, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 40th 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, Lt. Col. Talal al-Shalhoub, Ministry of Interior spokesman and Dr. Abdullah Aba Alkhail, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture spokesman. The MOH spokesman mentioned that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has amounted 734,000 cases, of which 152,000 cases have recovered to date. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 34,000.

 “154 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Kingdom,” said Al-Abdulaali. “These include 16 cases coming from abroad and are currently quarantined. While the remaining 138 cases have been in contact with previously reported cases.” Al-Abdulaali pointed out that these new cases were recorded in the following cities: 40 in Makkah, 34 in Dammam, 22 in Riyadh, 22 in Madinah, 9 in Jeddah, 6 in Al-Hofouf, 6 in Khobar, 5 in Al-Qatif, 2 in Taif, 1 in Yanbu, 1 in Buraidah, 1 in Alras, 1 in Khamis Mushayt, 1 in Dhahran, 1 in Samtah, 1 in Dawadmi and 1 in Tabuk.  

He added that 49 new recovered cases were recorded in the following cities: 40 in Makkah, 6 in Jeddah, 2 in Riyadh, and 1 in Al-Hofouf, and no any death was recorded, thanks Allah. Also, critical cases were recorded in the following cities: 10 in Madinah, 2 in Makkah, 2 in Riyadh, 2 in Jeddah, 1 in Dhahran, 1 in Al-Hofouf, 1 in Abha, 1 in Al-Baha, 1 in Dammam and 1 in Khobar.

This brings the total cases tested positive for COVID-19 in the Kingdom up to 1,453 cases, the total recoveries to 116 cases and the total deaths to 8 cases. He reiterated the importance of self-assessment against the COVID-19 symptoms and called on anyone with symptoms to making use of the MOH's ‘Mawid’ service. “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, pointed out to the ministry's statement published today on the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) concerning new precautionary measures in a number of neighborhoods in Makkah, to be implemented from today (Monday) at 3:00 pm until further notice.  
As per the directives of the Minister of Interior, HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Al-Shalhoub indicated that the lines of the operation centers 911 and 999 have been increased to ensure quick response to inquiries by citizens and residents and to facilitate all other services.

He praised the high degree of commitment to curfew shown by all community strata and organizations.
On infringements of the curfew, he said a number of activities have been closed down as a precautionary measure, confirming that the security authorities are monitoring all related violations. Since the effectiveness of the curfew, many violators have been recorded in cities and villages and published on media and the ministry's platforms. All violators will be referred to the public prosecution and penalties will be published on social media sites, he added.  

The spokesman of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Dr. Abdullah Aba Al-Khail said that the food security committee met yesterday under the chairmanship of the Minister to follow-up on the status of the basic food commodities. The committee was approved by the Council of Ministers in Shaban 1439H.  

He stressed that the Kingdom has abundant quantities of basic food commodities and achieved self-sufficiency in many agricultural products. "We have achieved 60% self-sufficiency in poultry (around one million tons annually), 60% in vegetables (180,000 tons a year), 109% in milk products (over 7.5 million liters a year), and almost the same rate in table egg, 55% in seafood and 92% in potatoes", he added.

On the ministry efforts to achieve food security, the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) stores around 2 million bags of wheat flour ready for distribution and produces 15,000 tons, which meet the local consumption, he said. "We will receive 700,000 tons of locally-produced wheat next month and over 1,200,000 tons of wheat from abroad by the end of next July, in addition to our strategic stocks of more than one million tons", he added  
 
The Kingdom has achieved 30% self-sufficiency in red meat, he said, adding that we import an average of 6 million livestock every year and within a week more than 50,000 livestock arrived at the Kingdom's ports and more ships will follow suit.  

Aba Al-Khail said that agricultural production continues throughout the year thanks to the introduction of cutting-edge technologies and environmental diversification in the Kingdom. The digital transformation achieved by the ministry has contributed to ensuring the continuity and efficiency of the ministry's work by providing electronic services to all beneficiaries. Until now, the ministry has performed more than 147,000 electronic services, such as issuance and renewal of licenses and other services.   

As per the ministry's directives, all workers in the agricultural sector such as farmers, beekeepers, fishermen, and stockbreeders are allowed to move around at all times provided that they use specially designed vehicles and must carry relevant ID such as agricultural or commercial registrar, beekeepers and fishermen cards and health certificate. No additional documents from the ministry are required, he added. 

Concluding his statement, he said that there is no point in storing foods, we have an abundant stock of high-quality food supply, and such behavior will lead to food waste. The food loss in the Kingdom reached more than 33% or 40 billion riyals a year. 






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