MOH News
COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Reviews Positive Outcomes of the Precautionary Measures
04 April 2020

​On Saturday morning, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 45th 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. Meanwhile, 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, MOI spokesman, and Dr. Abdulaziz bin Malik Al-Malik, Vice President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). 

 MOH spokesman, Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali, stated that the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide has surpassed 1,134,399 cases, of whom 236,086 case have recovered. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 60427 deaths. 

“140 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Kingdom,” said Al-Abdulaali. “These include two cases coming from abroad, and are currently quarantined. While the remaining 138 cases have been in contact with previously reported cases,” he said. He reiterated the importance of avoiding gatherings, staying at home and never leaving out unless necessary, as well as reducing contact with one another. These all are important strategies in the fight against the virus.

Al-Abdulaali pointed out that these new cases were recorded in the following cities: 66 cases in Riyadh, 21 cases in Jeddah, 15 cases in Hofuf, 9 cases in Makkah, 5 cases in Al-Qatif, 5 cases in Tabuk, 4 cases in Taif, 2 cases in Al-Khobar, Dammam, Dhahran and Madinah, and one case in Abha, Khamis Mushait, Jazan, Buraydah, Al-Jubail, Al-Majmaah and Al-Diriyah. This brings the total cases tested positive for COVID-19 in the Kingdom up to 2179 cases, of whom 1730 cases are active cases, receiving medical care, and their health condition is mostly stable; with the exception of few cases receiving intensive care. The number of new recoveries is 69, bringing the total recoveries to 420 cases. And the number of new deaths is 4 deaths: 1 citizen in Madinah, and 3 residents in Madinah, Jeddah and Makkah. This brings the total COVID-19 deaths in the Kingdom to 29.

 The MOH spokesman reiterated that anyone who develops symptoms, or is willing to get medical advice, can use the self-assessment application ‘Mawid’, or call 937 which works around the clock.

The Ministry of Health would like to share with the community crucial information it deems valuable to everyone, on the developments and updates of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, said Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali, MOH spokesman.

As a strategy to contain the pandemic, countries around the world have adopted an approach centered on testing for the virus, Al-Abdulaali added. The average number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per one million population ranges between 100 and 1,000 in some countries. In some other countries, this number up to 2,000 or even 3,000 cases. The average number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in KSA is less than 100 – to be accurate, 60 – cases per one million population; a very low rate thanks to the proactive measures taken by the Kingdom. 

Dr. Al-Abdulaali called upon citizens to abide by the precautionary measures in place, and not underrate or ignore them. This aims to curb the spread of the pandemic. He pointed out that the strict application of these precautionary measures is starting to pay off; and will eventually help flatten the curve of infection. Concluding his statement, the MOH spokesperson urged everyone to stay updated on COVID-19 cases through the Ministry’s official website, and extended to them wishes of good health. 
  
For his part, Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, Ministry of Interior (MOI) spokesman, said that, within the framework of the Kingdom’s efforts to maintain public health in the fight against COVID-19, and supporting the constant follow-up carried out by health agencies, the security authorities continue to implement precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus. These measures mainly involve lockdowns and other social-distancing strategies, through curfews at specific hours in cities, governorates, centers, and residential neighborhoods; preventing movement between the thirteen regions of the Kingdom; and preventing entry and exit from the cities of Riyadh, Makkah, and Madinah, as well as the governorates of Jeddah and Al-Qatif.

Al-Shalhoub pointed out that MOI has released a statement in this regard, which was published by the Saudi Press Agency. The MOI’s included the following:
First: Further tightening the health precautionary measures in a number of residential neighborhoods in Jeddah, by imposing isolation on the following neighborhoods: Kilo 14 South, Kilo 14 North, Al-Mahjar, Ghulail, Al-Qurayyat, Kilo 13, and Petromin. Entry and exit to these areas have also been banned. Furthermore, a 24-hour curfew will remain in effect, starting from 3:00 pm on Saturday, 11th of Shaaban 1441H, until further notice.

Second: Residents are allowed to leave their homes only in exceptional cases to meet their necessary needs, such as: health care requirements and buying food supplies, from 6:00 am to 3:00 am.

Third: All authorized activities are allowed to continue during curfew hours in the said isolated neighborhoods, in a limited manner, in accordance with the procedures and controls set out by the concerned agencies.

Al-Shalhoub further expounded that an extension of the curfew hours was previously announced in the city of Dammam, and the governorates of Taif and Al-Qatif. It will be in effect from 3:00 pm, starting from Friday, until further notice. Certain services and activities were excluded from the curfew, in accordance with the procedures and controls specified by the concerned agencies.

“In areas where the 24-hour curfew is in force, residents can only leave their homes in exceptional cases to meet their necessary needs, such as obtaining health care requirements and buying food supplies, from 6:00 am to 3:00 am, while still remaining inside their neighborhoods,” Al-Shalhoub said. He added that residents will be subject to the surveillance of security force individuals who will ensure that citizens are outside only to obtain their essential needs, and if proven otherwise, the case will be deemed a curfew breach.  

Al-Shalhoub pointed out that in implementation of the urgent initiatives taken by the Saudi government to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic (including measures to guarantee citizens’ safety and curb the financial and economic impacts of the virus), an automatic three-month extension of the expired residencies for expatriates inside and outside the Kingdom has been initiated. This will be for workers of the private sector’s commercial and industrial professions whose residency ended over the period from the 23th of Rajab till the 9th of Dhul-Qi'dah 1441H. Being automatic, the renewal will not require a review of the General Directorate of Passports.  “Let’s keep in mind that we are all responsible,” he added. 

For his part, Vice President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Dr. Abdulaziz bin Malik Al-Malik, praised the keen interest shown by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and the Crown Prince, to the research and development (R&D) sector in the Kingdom. In the recently-held G20 summit, the King stressed the importance of research and development, as well as finding solutions and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Al-Malik extended his thanks and appreciation to the staff workers of the Kingdom’s health, security and military sectors, as well as to other supporting sectors, in recognition of their efforts. He also expressed his appreciation of the measures taken by other government agencies, to rapidly support the scientific research of the novel Coronavirus, in partnership with KACST, MOH, the Saudi Health Council (SHC), and the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Dr. Al-Malik said that the program aims to provide direct financial support. This would be provided through grants offered to scientists in Saudi research centers and universities. It would enable them to obtain various research requirements, including materials, human resources, etc. The program focuses on specific areas. They include: Developing diagnostic tests for the virus that caused the disease, developing immunological examinations, supporting survey research and epidemiological studies of the disease, in addition to supporting artificial intelligence systems and self-controlled systems as tools to fight this disease, as well as supporting active genetic surveillance.

KACST Vice President stressed that the city allows researchers interested in studying the virus at research centers and national universities to use its laboratories and technical environment that located in its headquarters, or its other laboratories across the Kingdom. He called on those interested to submit their research proposals via the electronic portal. He noted that proposals will be received starting from today, until the 27th of Shaaban, corresponding to the 20th of April 2020. Ten days later, the research proposals will be assessed, and support will be provided to the accepted researchers.







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