MOH News

Physical Distancing Is Crucial for Infection Prevention, COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Stresses
03 May 2020

​On Sunday morning, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 74th 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.

The meeting was followed by a joint press conference, Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali, MOH spokesman, held a press conference, in which Dr. Abdullah Al-Assiri, consultant of infectious diseases and Assistant MOH Undersecretary for Preventive Health. The MOH spokesman mentioned that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has jumped to 3,400,000 cases, of which more than 1,100,000 cases have recovered to date. The COVID-19 death toll worldwide has mounted to 244,000 deaths. 

Besides, 1,552 new confirmed cases were reported in the Kingdom, distributed as follows: 245 in Jeddah, 221 in Makkah, 156 in Al-Jubail, 150 in Dammam, 139 in Madinah, 111 in Bish, 109 in Riyadh, 109 in Safwa, 68 in Taif, 66 in Khobar, 55 in Hofuf, 32 in Al-Dhahran, 17 in Al-Mijardah, 12 in Al-Zulfi, 10 in Al-Kharj, 10 in Al-Baha, 7 in Qaryat Al-Ulya, 6 in Al-Nuairiya, 5 in Al-Qatif, 5 in Bisha, 4 in Yanbu, 3 in Buraidah, 3 in Al-Deriyah, 2 in Al-Mandaq, and one case in Adham, Salwa, Al-Majmaah, Al-Bukairiyah, Rabegh, Al-Rass, and Beljarshi. This brings the total COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom to 27,011 cases, including 22,693 active cases, receiving the medical care they may be in need of. These include 139 critical cases, whereas the health condition of the rest is stable.

Of the 1,552 cases reported today, 301 cases (19%) are Saudi citizens, where are the other 1,251 cases (81%) are non-Saudis residents. About 16% of the cases (251) are females, and 84% (1,301) are males. Only 2% of the reported cases are older persons, 5% are children, and 93% are adults. The number of new recoveries has amounted to 369, bringing the total recoveries to date to 4,134. And 8 new deaths were reported, bringing the total deaths to 184. The new deaths include two Saudi cases in Dammam and Jeddah, and 6 non-Saudi residents in Makkah, Riyadh, Madinah and Jeddah, aged 32 - 84 years old.

Dr. Al-Abdulaali stated that the general absorptive capacity in the Kingdom is close to 80,000 beds in all health service sectors. They include 8,000 beds with intensive care equipment and facilities for critical cases. He extended his sincere thanks to those who made contributions to the Health Endowment Fund. "These individuals have reflected noble Saudi values with their generosity and cooperation as citizens go through this challenging global pandemic. Their contributions would be helping develop many areas of medical and health services," he added.

Dr. Al-Abdulaali stressed the importance of staying at home and adhering to safe social distancing measures to prevent transmitting the disease. He also advised everyone to avoid touching their faces, regularly wash hands, practice sneezing etiquette, wear face masks, exercise, and eat healthy food. Furthermore, anyone who has symptoms or wants an assessment can use the self-assessment service on ‘Mawid’ (Appointment) application. Citizens who have questions can also inquire or seek advice by calling the concerned call center on (937), available 24/7.
For his part, Dr. Abdullah Al-Assiri stated that the clinical study adopted in the Kingdom aims to test several treatment protocols that have proven effective in initial tests, whether in laboratories or previous studies on volunteers. It comes within an alliance led by WHO launched several weeks ago. This alliance targets a set of research to accelerate the recovery of patients diagnosed with the novel Coronavirus. It is made up of a total of 4 protocols. Three of them include antiviral drugs previously developed for various viral diseases. They have a wide range of uses and a high level of safety. However, it is unclear whether or not these drugs can speed up the recovery of COVID-19 patients. This is the main reason why the Kingdom has entered into this alliance with a large number of countries to test these drugs in reality. 

Dr. Al-Assiri added that patients who were proven to have COVID-19 and pneumonia will be part of the clinical studies, provided that they are receiving treatment in one of the 7 hospitals mentioned below. The aim is to test the effectiveness of these drugs on them. These patients will be subject to regular follow-up to observe the improvement and developments of their health condition. These hospitals are King Faisal Specialist Hospital, King Saud Medical Complex (KSMC), Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital, Ohoud Hospital in Madinah, Al-Noor Specialist Hospital in Makkah, Dammam Central Hospital, and Qatif Central Hospital.  

Dr. Al-Assiri pointed out that the duration of this study varies based on the response of patients and their number. The initial results of this study are expected to come out throughout the next few weeks. They would help determine the effectiveness of these drugs and their role in treating the COVID-19 virus. 

Dr. Al-Assiri explained that other research outside the scope of clinical research is also carried out by several facilities, including King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) of the National Guard, King Fahd Medical Research Center at King Abdulaziz University, Medical City at King Saud University in Riyadh, and King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center. All these facilities are coordinating with one another, under the leadership of MOH, to conduct the first researches covering the disease’s epidemiological aspects and infection control. Additionally, researches are conducted on the potential vaccines for COVID-19, and two labs in KSA have taken good steps in this regard. “We expect these two labs to contribute to the global efforts to develop an effective vaccine for the virus,” he added. 

Last Update : 05 May 2020 08:32 AM
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