MOH News

Al-Rabiah: COVID-19 Cases in the Kingdom Could Reach 200,000 within Few Weeks
07 April 2020

​The Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah said today (Tuesday) the increase in the rate of infection with COVID-19 in the coming period depends primarily on the cooperation of all and their commitment to the instructions and guidelines issued by the authorities. He warned that some of community members failed to implement the theme “We are All Responsible”. They are neither taking the dangers of the pandemic seriously enough nor adhering to the warnings issued with regard to avoiding close contact and gatherings.​

He drew attention to the recent speech of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in which he warned that “the next phase will be more difficult at the global level.” 
“As a part of the world, which exerts unprecedented efforts and measures to fight the pandemic and in spite of the rapid spread of this pandemic across the world, our leadership has proved as a global pioneer in taking strict precautionary measures before many countries of the world started taking any preventive measures. Perhaps the most important of these measures was the decision to suspend Umrah and prayers in mosques as well as halting of both domestic and international flights in addition to the suspension of studies and office work,” he said while taking measures to reduce close contact by 90 percent. “The state also dealt with this crisis with utmost transparency and clarity so that the citizens are aware of the latest developments.”

He added, “Allow me to speak with you frankly, although painful, that unfortunately some of community members failed to implement the theme “We are All Responsible” and are not dealing seriously with the pandemic and are not complying with the measures banning close contact and gatherings, and you have seen such practices and behaviors during the past days. This indicates that we need to take additional measures to protect us and the community from these people, as we face today a decisive moment for raising our sensibility as a responsible society.”
“We have to contribute collectively with decisiveness and determination to curb the spread of this pandemic, otherwise it is expected that the number of cases in the coming days will be increasing not decreasing” he said. 

He pointed out that the increase in numbers of infections in the coming period primarily depends on your cooperation and commitment to the guidelines and instructions. “Out of the principle of transparency we are committed to, I share with you the results of four studies conducted by Saudi and international experts specialized in epidemics field. The results of these studies expected that the number of COVID-19 cases over the next few weeks would be 10,000 at the minimum and up to 200,000 at the maximum,” he said, stressing that undoubtedly our commitment to instructions and measures entirely reduces the number of cases to the minimum, while non-compliance will lead to a huge increase in the number of cases, Allah forbids.

He mentioned that the Royal order to impose curfew in the evening was requested by MOH in an endeavor to reduce movement and to bring people’s close contact and gatherings to the minimum. According to the studies the rate of traffic during 24 hours is still very high as its now represents 46% of the total traffic during the normal days. Such rate doesn’t meet the required goal, therefore the total curfew was imposed in a number of cities and provinces, he added. 

On financing the fight against COVID-19, Al-Rabiah said since the outbreak of the virus SR 8 billion have been allocated. Following a virtual meeting yesterday HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has approved additional SR 7 billion bringing the total sanctioned amount to SR 15 billion, he added.
“This amount will further boost the health sector’s readiness to secure medicine, to activate additional beds, to buy medical devices and required health supplies such as ventilators and testing devices and samples, as well as securing the required medical and technical staff from inside and outside,” he said, adding that MOH’s request to allocate another SR 32 billion until the end of current fiscal year has been approved.

Despite the unlimited support from the state to fight the pandemic, we are facing two main problems. First the lack of sufficient supplies of devices and medical supplies in the international markets to meet all of our future needs in the event the number of cases increase dramatically. Secondly, the negligence shown by some members of community in adhering to the precautionary measures leading to increasing the infected cases to a level the health sector cannot handle.  

"Our current plan aims to exert all efforts that contribute to curb the increase in the infected cases in the Kingdom, thus giving MOH ample time to provide the largest possible number of ventilators and other necessary medical equipment and supplies. By reducing the number of infections for the longest possible period of time, we will be able to make use of the latest clinically-tested medication or vaccines for treating or protecting citizens and residents," Al-Rabiah said.

He added: "MOH coordinates with other ministries and concerned agencies to raise awareness and to take all necessary precautionary measures, but the consequent increase in the infected persons is the responsibility of every citizen and resident who did not abide by these precautionary measures. In every sense of the word, what the whole world facing is a pandemic, he said, hoping that all citizens and residents help us to implement the required measures precisely and with a high sense of responsibility, so we do not reach a very advanced stage in terms of increasing the number of infections as happened in a number of countries. Limiting and controlling the number of infections within the current numbers for a period of four months to a year will ensure our readiness to become closer to the global standards in dealing with this pandemic in the best way".

"A committee headed by the Crown Prince discussed the economic implications of the pandemic and approved a number of decisions. The Minister of Economy and Planning will detail these decisions later”, Al-Rabiah concluded.  

Last Update : 08 April 2020 09:46 AM
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