MOH News

COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Holds its 52nd Meeting
11 April 2020

​On Saturday morning, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 52nd 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. The Committee commended the citizens’ compliance with the curfew, and called on them to stay home, and refrain from going unless necessary ​

The meeting was followed by a joint press conference, the participants in which included Dr. Muhammad al-Abdulaali, MOH spokesman, and Nasser Al-Hazani, Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) spokesman. The MOH spokesman mentioned that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has amounted 1,700,000 cases, of which 382,000 cases have recovered to date. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 103,000 deaths. 

“Speaking of the Kingdom,” Al-Abdulaali said, “we have 382 new confirmed cases, to be added to the total number of cases.” He mentioned that the new cases were reported in the following cities: 131 in Makkah, 95 in Madinah, 76 in Riyadh, 50 in Jeddah, 15 in Dammam, 5 in Yanbu, 3 in Hofuf, 3 in Sabt Al-Alaya, and one case in Taif, Khobar, Maysan and Al-Shamli. This brings the total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom to 4,033 cases, including 3,261 active cases receiving medical care. Of these, there are 67 critical cases, whereas the health condition of the rest is reassuring. 

Besides, the number of recoveries has jumped to 720 cases, after adding 35 new recoveries. And the number of deaths has amounted to 52, after adding 5 new deaths: a 33-year-old Saudi man in Jeddah, a 67-year-old Saudi man in Madinah, and 3 non-Saudi residents aged 41, 63 and 80 years old. Most of the deaths suffered from chronic diseases. And all deaths were reported in Makkah and Jeddah. It is also worth noting that the deaths included a person in his thirties, in addition to older persons. 

“We stress that infection cases are not exclusive to a certain age group, so young people and the elderly are equally vulnerable to the virus. There have been warnings about this in various ways, whether by the World Health Organization (WHO), through constant communication with citizens, or the advice and instructions given by MOH. All ages are prone to infection and it may lead to a critical condition, God forbid, and even death,” Al-Abdulaali said. “We always ask everyone to adhere to the instructions for their own safety, as well as for the safety of their loved ones,” he added, noting that 70-80% of the recently confirmed cases were non-Saudis who had social contact with infected individuals. 

 “Thankfully, the flights that brought Saudis back to the Kingdom after the Royal Decree ordering that they return began with the cooperation of the concerned agencies and their consolidated efforts to arrange these individuals' arrival and reception, in addition to providing them with the necessary care and required preventive measures to ensure their safety, and everybody else’s. Three flights have arrived, in addition to a group of trips through land ports, making the total number of arriving passengers 1639. We wish everyone health, safety, and a sound return home,” he added. He also noted that anyone who suffers from symptoms, wants to use the self-assessment service through “Mawid” application, or has an inquiry can contact the number (937), which is available 24/7.

For his part, Nasser Al-Hazani, the spokesman of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, expressed his thanks and gratitude to the Saudi government for its continuous support. He highlighted the efforts made, around the clock, by the various sectors of the Kingdom, in harmony with the rest of the concerned agencies.

He announced an initiative launched by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and the Ministry of Housing to exempt orphans and people with disabilities from paying benefits to the Ministry of Housing for three months. He pointed out that the initiatives launched by the Ministry (in cooperation and partnership with several entities) included an initiative in partnership with the General Authority of Awqaf, the National Institutions Council, the Cooperative Societies Council, and the Health Endowment Fund (Community Fund) to curb the impact of the novel Coronavirus and support the groups harmed the most and in need of help, with a capital of SAR 500 million. This initiative comes in support of government efforts. It also activates the role of Awqaf and the non-profit sector in reducing the economic and social impacts of this pandemic. 

He explained that the aspects the fund focuses on include: aid, accommodation, community, education, providing drinking water, health, technology, awareness, and educational services. It targets the elderly and needy individuals, families, and students, in addition to people with disabilities, families of prisoners, widows, divorced women, drop-outs coming to the Kingdom for Umrah or visits, and guarantors, craftsmen working in small-scale professions and affected laborers. 

One of the initiatives, dubbed "Geza’ona Wahid” (Our Food is One), aims to mitigate the effects of the novel Coronavirus. This initiative supports the families whose foodstuffs are harmed in all regions of the Kingdom. It is funded by the Community Fund and the parties involved in it. The number of beneficiary families so far is 59,737, and the total number of baskets provided until now is 870142. The fourth initiative included a program to support self-employed Saudis working in delivery applications registered at the Communications and Information Technology Commission. That initiative was launched by the human resources system. The Human Resources Fund provides financial support to drivers of delivery vehicles. This initiative aims to support Saudi citizens, and reinforce the precautionary efforts to reduce human gatherings. 

He pointed out that the initiatives also included a decision to exempt small enterprises from paying financial dues for three years. It targets supporting small enterprises’ localization efforts to contribute directly to enhancing the growth of small enterprises as well as support localization and job generation. A large number of business owners are expected to benefit from this decision, which would eventually serve the Saudi labor market. The sixth initiative included launching a secondment service for expatriate workers through ‘Ajeer’ program for private sector enterprises. It aims to temporarily benefit from employment services as an alternative to recruitment. It also protects workers in enterprises during this critical time from losing their jobs. 

The initiatives also included one that enables expatriates to leave to their countries. This service allows a company to apply to let its workers leave under the current exceptional circumstances that led to the suspension of all departure flights in the Kingdom. 

The Ministry’s spokesman stressed that the establishments that benefit from the Unemployment Work System “SANID” are not entitled to terminating the contracts of Saudi employees. 

“The Kingdom, its leadership and people are all kept safe by God. We are all responsible, so we must adhere to the instructions of MOH, which would benefit everyone, God's willing,” Al-Hazani said. 

Last Update : 15 April 2020 06:01 PM
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