MOH News
COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Holds its 46th Meeting
05 April 2020

​On Sunday morning, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 46th 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. Meanwhile, the Committee commended the citizens’ compliance with the curfew, and called on them to stay home, and refrain from going out 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, Mr.Fahad Alhazmi, General Manager of Corporate Communication, Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) and Mr. Hamoud Alharbi, General Authority of Zakat and Tax spokesman. The MOH spokesman mentioned that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has amounted 1,200,000 cases, of which 253,000 cases have recovered to date. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 66,000.

 “The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom amounted to 2,385 cases, including 1,863 active cases” said Al-Abdulaali. He pointed out that 68 new cases have recovered today, bringing the total recoveries to 488 cases. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 34. He said all COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom (active cases, recoveries and death toll) are updated daily on the designated website.

 “Saudis represent 47% and non-Saudis 53% of the total COVID-19 cases reported in the Kingdom, meaning that the infection hits all strata of society”, he said, adding that the number of cases monitored, whether for Saudis or non-Saudis, is mainly related to gathering in homes or other places. If you have to go to work because your job is so sensitive, you should keep a distance from your coworkers and abide by the healthy tips, including washing hands with soap and water. If you have symptoms get the required medical care and stay at home to reduce the possibility of infecting others, he explained. Also workers living in housing compounds must adhere to all health requirements, Al-Abdulaali added.

He called on everyone to stay home, and refrain from going out unless extremely necessary particularly during the hours when going out is permissible. He called on them to abide by the healthy tips to protect themselves and those around them. 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.  

For his part, General Manager of Corporate Communication, Saudi Red Crescent Authority Mr. Fahad Alhazmi said that the Authority has 13 administrative regions and more than 485 emergency centers in all the Kingdom’s cities and provinces. Its emergency teams are enhanced with over 1,000 physicians, specialists, emergency and ambulatory technicians, as well as volunteers.

He mentioned that SRCA has enhanced over 1,000 ambulances with cutting-edge supplies and formed a team to study COVID-19 situation. During their daily meeting, the team develops executive and operational plans, reviews all performance indicators, monitors operation rooms performance, analyzes incoming calls to the operation center, as well as examining the suspected cases brought in by the ambulatory teams, and following-up resolutions made by the higher authorities and their impact on the ambulatory work system. 

 The SRCA has conducted 13 simulation-based training on how to receive inquiries about COVID-19 suspected cases and training the ambulatory teams on handling such cases and applying the necessary precautions, he said. He went on saying that the Authority has 13 operation and control rooms across the Kingdom, operating 24/7. Besides, 2 additional rooms were launched in Riyadh and Jeddah. The rooms are operated by 1,100 staff who work around the clock. During this month, the operations rooms have received more than 35,000 calls, a 53% increase compared to regular days, and 96,000 notifications or 56% increase. The majority of notifications were received in Makkah and Riyadh, he added.

He mentioned that the Authority has organized several virtual training courses, most notably: infection control program and COVID-19 containment program, with the participation of 50,000 beneficiaries including the Authority’s health practitioners and volunteers.

He said that the Authority’s database includes over 20,000 volunteers of different specialties. There are two types of volunteers, those who work within the Authority’s system and focus on helping the emergency centers and operation rooms, and those who involve in volunteering works outside the system, mainly in raising awareness about COVID-19 and in sorting points at different public and private agencies. 
 
 “(997) is the number designated to receive requests for ambulances particularly during the curfew hours. Also, the application dubbed “Asefni” or “Save Me,” was launched to receive emergency service requests in many languages, in addition to a medical content, which includes first aid instructions. In addition, a permission can be obtained to go to the nearest health facility in coordination with the public security”, Alhazni said.  

Concerning any complaints or medical inquiries, call MOH’s 937 service center, and you can obtain a permission to go to a health facility via the public security’s website, he explained. ​

Mr. Hamoud Alharbi, General Authority of Zakat and Tax spokesman said that in line with the great efforts exerted by the government to fight COVID-19, the Authority has launched initiatives to mitigate the financial and economic impact of coronavirus on the private sector.  These initiatives include postponing the payment and submission of income tax and zakat declaration and withholding tax and tax payment. They also include postponing payment of selective commodity tax as well as postponing the payment of VAT, and postponing or suspending the payment of VAT from customs to importers for VAT purposes. 

 The postponement also includes the collection of customs duties on imports. The Authority cancelled fines on the paid instalments and fines for amendment of declaration and the taxpayers can amend their declarations during the initiative without imposing any fines, and suspend any fines for non-cooperation from the taxpayers or field inspection fines for these taxpayers. The authority also suspended the implementation of procedures to suspend the services of taxpayers and seizure of funds, thus enabling them to resume their activities, Alharbi explained.

Alharbi pointed out that the Authority has launched an initiative to grant zakat certificates without restrictions for 2019, enabling the private sector to apply for tenders or participate in any projects. Anyone can request to pay his dues in instalments without any restrictions.

The Authority spokesman said that the Authority has launched the (voluntary disclosure) initiative, which aims to urge the private sector, institutions and individuals to disclose any previous taxes, or any previous dues, so they can pay them in installments. Any fines resulting from delaying payment of taxes, whether VAT or income tax or withholding tax, will be cancelled. 

He stressed that the initiatives aim to make liquidity available for the private sector, thus helping them to continue with their economic activities. For any inquiries about these initiatives you can visit the Authority’s website or call the toll number (1993), 24/7. 
The initiative cover the period from March 18th-June 30th, 2020.

Responding to a question about amending declarations submitted during 2018, he said there is no fine for amendment of the declaration. 






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