MOH News
COVID-19 Monitoring Committee: Don't Go out Unless You Have to
05 May 2020

On Tuesday morning, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 76th 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, the participants in which included Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali, MOH spokesman, Mr. Fahad Al-Hazemi, General Manager of Corporate Communication at the Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA), and Dr. Ibrahim Al-Haidari, Executive Director of the Health Endowment Fund (HEF). The MOH spokesman mentioned that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has jumped to 3,600,106 cases, of which 1,173,147 cases have recovered to date. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 251,898.

Besides, 1,595 new confirmed cases were reported in the Kingdom, distributed as follows: 385 in Jeddah, 337 in Makkah, 230 in Riyadh, 141 in Dammam, 120 in Jubail, 101 in Hofuf, 89 in Al-Khobar, 65 in Taif, 25 in Madinah, 14 in Bish, 14 in Al-Nuairiyah, 12 in Qaryat Al-Ulya, 11 in Al-Deriya, 9 in Buraydah, 8 in Tabuk, 8 in Abha, 5 in Rabigh, 5 in Al-Zulfi, 4 in Al-Kharj, 4 in Bisha, 2 in Yanbu, and one case in Qunfudah, Dhuba, Al-Mekhwah, Al-Qurai Bani-Malek, Al-Huda, and Layla. This brings the total COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom to 30,251 cases, including 24,620 active cases, receiving the medical care they may be in need of. Of these, there are 143 critical cases, whereas the health condition of the rest is stable.

Of the 1595 cases reported today, 376 cases (24%) are Saudi citizens, where are the other 1,219 cases (81%) are non-Saudis residents. About 14% of the cases (221) are females, and 86% (1,374) are males. Only 2% of the reported cases are older persons, 6% are children, and 92% are adults. The number of new recoveries has amounted to 955, bringing the total recoveries to date to 5,431. And 9 new deaths were reported, bringing the total deaths to 200. The new deaths include one 34-year-old Saudi woman, and 8 non-Saudi residents in Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and Al-Qassim, aged 34 - 75 years old. They mostly suffered from chronic diseases

Dr. Al-Abdulaali stressed that MOH has started an important phase of the expanded examination. It includes giving individuals who self-assess and have stable health conditions the opportunity to get a laboratory examination. It comes in the form of an invitation that they can use themselves or give to someone else.

He stressed that people with asthma (a serious respiratory disease), must be careful, take their medications regularly, and make sure they are available. They must also consult with their doctors, who could provide them with additional advice, to review their treatment plan. Furthermore, they must stay away from all asthma attack triggers to stay healthy. Additionally, they should stay home to avoid having COVID-19 transmitted to them. Moreover, Dr. Al-Abdulaali noted that 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.
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For his part, Fahad Al-Hazemi, the General Manager of Corporate Communication at the Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA), stressed that SRCA will continue to provide services through its centers, which amount to over 486 across the cities and governorates of KSA. Regarding ambulatory services’ statistics in April and the performance of SRCA operation rooms in all regions of the Kingdom, Al-Hazemi noted that the total number of incoming calls reached 1.4 million, while the total number of ambulatory reports reached 130,000. The total number of transported cases reached 54,000. The number of suspected cases that were transported by SRCA reached over 6,000. The procedures that take place during the process include ensuring the safety of health practitioners, sterilizing the car after transporting the suspected cases, and not transporting any cases before checking their assessment. 

Concerning training aspects, the official spokesman of SRCA stated that the authority has developed an infection control program that also addresses the methods of dealing with the novel Coronavirus. The program was implemented remotely, and the total number of its beneficiaries reached 230,000. Furthermore, trainers in the program receive accredited certificates. 

The authority has created more than 10 training programs divided into two parts. Some of these programs are directed to community groups and volunteers, such as Prince Nayef's First Aid Learning Program, Basics of Volunteerism Program, and Disaster and Crisis Response Program. SRCA’s spokesman stated that there are programs dedicated to health practitioners working in the field. The most prominent ones include Basic and Advanced Sound Electrical Planning Course, Respirators Program, and Airway Management Program.

Additionally, SRCA relies greatly on volunteer work; both internally and externally. Internal volunteer work in SRCA includes supporting ambulatory centers and operation room centers. External volunteer work focuses on three basic factors in the process of providing primary screening points at all establishments (public and private alike), as well as commercial complexes, malls and shopping centers. Furthermore, the total number of volunteer opportunities where volunteers participated exceeds 119, while the total number of volunteers reached 1,875. The total number of volunteer hours exceeded 28,000.

According to SRCA's spokesman, contacting operation centers happens in very critical cases that require emergency transport. On the other hand, simple cases that require attention can use ‘As’efni’ (Aid Me) application. He noted that SRCA’s role in providing health facilities exit permits is technical, while the approval process is conducted by the concerned authority (Public Security).

For his part, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Haidari, the Executive Director of the Health Endowment Fund (HEF), revealed that the Fund established an initiative to receive and attract financial and in-kind contributions from companies, businessmen and individuals. It aims to support government agencies working in the fight against COVID-19. He noted that the initiative was met with great reactions and provided a wonderful model for a coherent community that is aware of challenges and is in solidarity with its wise leadership against COVID-19. The fund has also allocated a bank account for the initiative to receive financial and in-kind contributions. Since its launch, the initiative has received contributions worth over SAR 1 billion.

The number of bodies contributing to the initiative amounted to 300. They included companies belonging to the energy system, in addition to the financial, banking, insurance, and funding sectors. They also included endowment and donor institutions, as well as companies in the sectors of health, food, and hospitality, alongside with several businessmen. One of HEF’s most prominent spending aspects in the Coronavirus Pandemic Initiative is providing alternatives to patients with dialysis, delivering medications to patients at their homes, providing medical devices and preventive tools, and supporting patients given health care at home.

HEF is the first endowment fund specialized in the health field. It is an independent entity with a legal personality established by a decision of the Council of Ministers in 1440H. Its board of directors is headed by the Minister of Health and its administration includes both the public and representatives of several government agencies.

Dr. Al-Haidari added that the fund is based on three pillars, which are: rapid responses, flexibility in moving around, and partnership with the community. The Fund aspires to be a sustainable financial entity influencing health development and contributing to Vision 2030.

HEF's Executive Director concluded by thanking the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and HRH the Crown Prince for the continuous care, attention, and support they give to the non-profit sector. He also extended his thanks to companies, businessmen, and endowment institutions and individuals who trusted HEF and generously contributed to it. Moreover, he thanked heroes in all sectors, who are standing in the front lines to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.





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