MOH News
MOH Continues with Active Surveillance, COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Stresses
18 April 2020

​​​On Saturday morning, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 59th 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.


The meeting was followed by a joint press conference, the participants in which included Dr. Muhammad al-Abdulaali, MOH spokesman, Dr. Abdullah Aba Alkhail, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture spokesman and Mr. Yasser Al-Misfer, Ministry of Transport spokesman. 
The MOH spokesman mentioned that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has amounted to more than 2,200,000 cases, of which 577,000 cases have recovered to date. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 154,000 deaths.

 “Speaking of the Kingdom,” Al-Abdulaali said, “we have 1,132 new confirmed cases, 79% of them are non-Saudis and 21% are Saudis.” He mentioned that the new cases were reported in the following cities: 315 in Makkah, 236 in Jeddah, 225 in Riyadh, 186 in Madinah, 88 in Dammam, 27 in Jubail, 13 in Tabuk, 10 in Taif, 6 in Al-Hafouf, 5 in Buraidah, 4 in Khobar, 4 in Al-Qunfudah, 2 in Dhahran, 2 in Abha, 1 in Hail, 1 in Bisha, 1 in Khamis Mushayt, 1 in Jazan, 1 in Unaizah, 1 in Al-Bukairyah, 1 in Al-Mezalif, 1 in Al-Jafer and 1 in Thurayban. 

He mentioned that this brings the total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom to 8,274 cases, including 6,853 active cases receiving medical care. Of these, there are 78 critical cases, whereas the health condition of the rest is reassuring. The number of new recoveries is 280, bringing the total recoveries to 1,329 cases. And the number of new deaths is 5, bringing the total deaths to 92 cases. The new deaths include 34 years old Saudi citizen in Jazan and 4 non-Saudis, 3 in Makkah and 1 in Jeddah, most of them with chronic diseases, and their ages between 45-80 years, he said.  

The spokesman said that 740 (65%) of the cases reported today have been detected through the active surveillance (field testing), and 191 (17%) have been detected in the guest houses, and the rest of the cases, 201 (18%) for persons who have in contact with infected cases.

He went on saying that the active surveillance ​is one of the best scientific methods for early discovery of COVID-19 cases. This activity is carried out in the high-risk and overpopulated areas, such workers’ housing units where many cases had been uncovered, he said, adding that we will continue the field trips as proactive measures in order to protect community and contain the virus. 
Al-Abdulaali said the field teams, with the help of translators in many languages, will expand surveillance in the high-risk areas in several regions of the Kingdom. 

He reiterated the importance of staying at home and observing social distancing to fight the virus and curb its spread. He also 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, Dr. Abdullah Aba Alkhail, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture spokesman said the ministry has launched an online service for farmers, stockbreeders, beekeepers and horse owners, through which they can obtain a permit to use in cities and provinces where movement is prohibited. The 24-hour permit is issued once every week.  Also, the private sector companies can obtain movement permit online to ensure smooth supply of agricultural products. Many companies have already obtained the required permits, he added.

He said the ministry regularly communicates with farmers across the Kingdom to ensure that the products are abundantly available and discusses with them their future seasonal plans. The ministry also highlights their vital role in achieving food security. 

Preparations are underway to harvest 177,000 tons of onions during the upcoming period, he said, adding that the ministry is coordinating with the ministries of commerce and municipal and rural affairs, through the field teams, to measure availability of agricultural products and the demand and supply.  
Since the beginning of this month, plant and animal quarantines, through 28 land, sea and air ports,   have cleared 183,000 tons of fresh agricultural products, and imported about 100,000 head of cattle from 5 countries, he said.

Despite that the Kingdom has achieved self-sufficiency in table egg, this has not been felt in the market due to some negative behaviors, and the ministry has imported large quantities from 5 countries. The ministry appreciates the efforts exerted by the local table egg producers and their readiness to increase the production capacity by 24%, he added.

Saudi Grains Organization has announced tender for Saudi investors to import 355,000 ton of wheat, which represent 10% of the Kingdom need during this year, 2020, in addition to the local production. Also, the organization has announced its third tender to import 600,000 tons of feed barley bringing the total amounts to be imported this year to 2.7 million tons. The shipments are scheduled to arrive at the Kingdom’s ports at the end of next August to meet the local demand and boost the organization’s strategic reserve, he said. Currently, 14 ships are unloading 844,000 tons of wheat and barley at all Kingdom’s ports, he added.

Aba Al-Khail stated that the total installments due to individuals and small and medium-sized companies that were postponed by the Agricultural Development Fund until the end of next August amounted to SR 147 million for 98 beneficiaries. Out of 15 loan requests, the fund has initially approved 9 at a value of SR 60 million.

Concluding his statement, he said the agricultural development bank has launched a SR 2 billion initiative to finance importation of the agricultural products in line with the food security strategy. 
Mr. Yasser Al-Misfer, Ministry of Transport spokesman said, “In light of the government keenness to facilitate the freight transport, it has been agreed to continue with not obliging the trucks weighing more than 3.5 ton to obtain transport permits.

Al-Misfer mentioned that an approval has been issued for the resumption of work of public transport vehicles having vehicle guiding apps installed in them, during the hours when going out is permissible, in accordance with specific controls to be announced by the concerned authorities in the near future.
He extended his thanks to the transport system staff for the great efforts they exerted to ensure the smooth transport of goods particularly food stuff and medicines form the Kingdom’s ports to consumers.






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