MOH News

MOH: Downward Trend Observed in COVID-19 Curve, Adherence to Precautionary Measures Remains Essential
16 May 2021

​MOH spokesman, Dr. Muhammed Al-Abdulaali, said that curve of confirmed COVID-19 cases is moving toward a rather stable state. Moreover, the pandemic curve in the Kingdom is declining with an increasing demand on the vaccine. Dr. Al-Abdulaali stressed the importance of sticking to the allowed numbers of people in gatherings and social occasions, adding that

the situation of critical COVID-19 cases is being closely followed.

MOH will also continue to apply the precautionary measures until the end of the pandemic. And the stable state is due to the increasing demand on the vaccine and adhering to the preventive measures. Dr. Al-Abdulaali called on all travelers to learn about the health situation in countries they are traveling to before they take off on their trips. Noteworthy, the labs authorized to issue travel certificates are announced on the website of the Public Health Authority (Weqaya). And people who would like more information can contact the (937) Call Center.
Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in the Kingdom, the total number of doses given at various vaccine centers in the Kingdom is estimated to be 11,527,100. More than 590 centers have provided the vaccine. 825 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Kingdom, bringing the total cases to 433,094. These include 8,145 active cases, still receiving medical care. Their health status is mostly stable, with the exception of 1,376 critical cases.

The MOH spokesman made this statement in the COVID-19 briefing held on Sunday, which also hosted MOI spokesman, Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub; Deputy Minister for Inspection and Development of Work Environment at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MRSD), Sattam Al-Harbi; Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) spokesman, Ibrahim Al-Rusa; and Executive Director General of the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya), Dr. Abdullah Al-Quwizani. 

Dr. Al-Abdulaali mentioned that 1,028 new COVID-19 recoveries were reported, bringing the total number of recoveries to 417,787 to date. 15 new mortalities were also reported, bringing the total number of COVID-19 mortalities in the Kingdom to 7,162. Health services are still provided by all MOH centers and facilities. ‘Taakkad’ centers have conducted 9,950,328 swabs, and ‘Tetamman’ clinics have served 2,646,954 outpatients. They have also provided health and medical consultations to 35,793,642 beneficiaries through the (937) call center. The total number of COVID-19 lab tests is estimated to be 17,982,030.

For his part, Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, MOI spokesman, affirmed that the number of gatherings is increasing these days as members of society continue to strengthen their social bonds. Hopefully, this would not have a negative impact in terms of the spread of the virus. Therefore, it is essential to continue adhering to the precautionary and preventive measures and maintain the efforts made by the wise government to deem human health a top priority.
In addition to what was previously announced on the 14th of Ramadan regarding the regulations to limit gatherings that contribute to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, as well as the announcement made on the 7th of Shawwal to amend the penalties of violating the precautionary measures, the penalties classification table was modified to include some more violations.

These penalties aim to impose social distancing and control gatherings, which are considered a direct cause of the Coronavirus spread. This ensures preventing further spread of the virus and ensures that the situation is contained at all times. Moreover, it is crucial that all individuals and entities adhere to the approved health safety requirements and social distancing rules to prevent gatherings in all forms everywhere.

MOI, represented in the General Directorate of Passports, prepares to receive travelers at all international land, sea, and air ports, following the decision to eliminate travel suspension for citizens, and open ports starting from 1:00am, Monday, the 5th of Shawwal, corresponding to 17 May, 2021. 

Al-Shalhoub stressed the importance of adhering to the precautionary measures and taking the necessary steps to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Moreover, suspending the use of national ID for travel, to and from the Kingdom, continues. This also includes citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Starting from Thursday, 8th of Shawwal, 1442AH, corresponding to 20 May, 2021, institutional quarantine procedures will be applied on individuals visiting the Kingdom from countries where no restrictions were imposed on reception of non-immunized individuals. 

Certain categories of air passengers arriving in the Kingdom shall be exempted from the institutional quarantine. These include citizens and their spouses and children, as well as accompanying domestic workers. They also include non-vaccinated accompanying domestic workers, official delegations, people with diplomatic visas and their families, aircrews, and individuals involved in health supply chains (according to MOH). 

Some air and sea passengers arriving in the Kingdom shall also be exempted from the institutional quarantine. These include citizens and their spouses and children, as well as the accompanying domestic workers of any of these individuals. They also include vaccinated individuals, and escorts under the age of 18, in addition to people with diplomatic visas, diplomats and their families, aircrews, truck drivers and their assistants at all ports, and individuals involved in health supply chains (according to MOH). Exemptions can also be made for other individuals based on what the concerned authorities decide, provided that they get isolated at home, unless vaccinated. 

Noteworthy, it is essential for the aforementioned individuals to obtain a valid health insurance policy to cover the risks of the Coronavirus. It should be approved by the official authorities in the Kingdom, especially for non-vaccinated individuals. 

Violators of quarantine or isolation measures will have fines worth SAR 200,000 imposed on them, or a prison sentence of 2 years at most. In some cases, both penalties may be applied. If a violation was repeated, the penalty previously applied would be doubled.
If the violation was committed by a non-Saudi individual, they shall be penalized by deportation from the Kingdom. They shall also be permanently prohibited from entering the Kingdom following the application of the penalty.
Last week, 22,442 violations of the precautionary measures were found. Riyadh region had the lion’s share with 8,202 violations of the total number of violations across all regions of the Kingdom, followed by Makkah with 3,734 violations, and the Eastern Province with 3,504 violations. All legal measures were taken against the violators.

Moreover, security authorities continue to intensify their efforts to arrest the violators of the precautionary measures and the regulations to restrict gatherings, as well as those who do not wear their face masks. Moreover, MOI continues its efforts to control gatherings in all regions of the Kingdom. It aims to restrict all violations and take legal measures against perpetrators within its scope. Establishments may be subject to closure in case of violating the measures. The penalty is decided based on the size and number of employees of the establishment. If a violation was repeated, the penalty previously applied would be doubled. Imposed fines can reach a maximum of SAR 200,000, and the closure period should not exceed 6 months. The manager of the establishment branch shall have a fine up to SAR 100,000 imposed on them, and in the case of repeating the violation; they must be referred to public prosecution in order for their imprisonment decision to be reviewed. 
Al-Shalhoub called on everyone to adhere to the precautionary and preventive measures and regulations to limit gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus. He also highlighted the importance of raising the level of personal responsibility of individuals in the face of this pandemic, to achieve the main purpose of these protocols, which is making life return to normal. 

Furthermore, everyone is advised to receive the vaccine. The cooperation of citizens and residents with the government and concerned authorities will ensure limiting the spread of the virus.

Sattam Al-Harbi reviewed the procedural evidence regulating work under the precautionary measures, and the statistics of control tours. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Ministry has worked in cooperation with (Weqaya) and the relevant authorities to develop procedures regulating the work of the public, private and non-profit sectors. They include the preventive protocols for the public sector to limit the spread of the Coronavirus, administrative and office work protocols in the private sector, and health protocols for domestic workers (working by hour). Furthermore, there are protocols regulating the work of social shelters’ hospitality centers (except for nursing homes) and nurseries. Nearly 446,444 inspection tours were held thus far, and 3,077 violations were reported.

Noteworthy, receiving the Coronavirus vaccine is mandatory for public, private and non-profit sector employees to enter their workplaces. Moreover, it is essential to report violations of the precautionary measures at mentioned workplaces. These could include anything from breaching occupational safety and health rules, to behavioral violations, as well as other violations involving individuals or establishments. Violation to Saudization shall also be punishable by the law.

Additionally, there are other violations, such as allowing individuals who are not wearing face masks into buildings, failing to provide disinfectants and sterilizers, as well as not disinfecting facilities and surfaces, and not measuring body temperatures of employees and customers at entrances or refusing to have body temperature measured. Furthermore, not using medical or cloth face masks and not adhering to the approved procedures when the temperature is above 30 degrees, as well as  ignoring proper social distancing is considered a violation.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Quwizani stressed that everyone must continue to follow the precautionary measures, whether vaccinated or not. This includes wearing face masks, maintaining a proper social distance, avoiding family gatherings, and staying away from places that do not conveniently apply these measures, especially in the recreational and social activities of the Eid season and the summer holiday.

 Taking the vaccine as soon as possible is also advised, especially that the preventive measures in the public and private sectors require all individuals to be immunized, or receive a negative PCR result with a blood sample taken no longer than 7 days ago. This is especially true for tourism accommodation workers (hotels and furnished apartments), and individuals working at gyms and sport centers, barber shops, and hair salons, as well as domestic workers who work by the hour.

Individuals who are required to provide their lab test results include service providers of pilgrims, Umrah performers, and workers in all shops. They also include service providers in Makkah and Madinah. The same rule applies to workers of food factories, foodstuff stores, restaurants and cafes, in addition to national airline aircrews, and public transport workers (trains, buses and ferries).

Preventive measures for non-citizens visiting the Kingdom and are over the age of 8 are required to submit proof that they are free from the virus, based on tests from a reliable authority outside the Kingdom. The results must be issued 72 hours before the date of departure at most. 

The measures taken upon arrival in the Kingdom through airports impose an institutional quarantine on visitors from countries where no travel restrictions were imposed.

 Visitors are also required to undergo two lab tests (on the first and seventh days of arrival). Vaccinated individuals are an exception of this rule, and they are also not required to get a PCR test or be subject to home quarantine upon arrival. Non-vaccinated individuals who are not required to go into quarantine include aircrews, official delegations, individuals with a diplomatic visa, diplomats and their families, domestic workers accompanying these individuals, and people involved in health supply chains. The precautionary measures adopted will be imposed on citizens, their spouses, children, and accompanying domestic workers. Escorts of vaccinated individuals (whether citizens and residents) who are under the age of 18, and domestic workers accompanying vaccinated residents are also subject to these measures. 

The quarantine should be at home and should last for 7 days, provided that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. The PCR must be conducted starting from the sixth day of arrival in the Kingdom.

Those arriving from outside the Kingdom at airports (non-vaccinated non-exempted individuals) stay in specific hotels to get quarantined at their own expense in the city they arrive in. Vaccinated individuals (citizen and resident) must prove that they are vaccinated through ‘Tawakkalna’ application. They include individuals who received one or two doses of the vaccine, provided that 14 days have passed since their first dose of the vaccine. As for those who have recovered from the virus, they must prove via Tawakkalna application that they had COVID-19 over 6 months ago.  

With regard to non-citizens and residents, it must be proved that 14 days have passed since they received the vaccine. Proof must also be submitted of the updated preventive protocols for groups leaving the Kingdom, groups allowed to travel outside the Kingdom, and immunized citizens who received two doses of the vaccine, provided that 14 days have passed since their first dose of the vaccine, in addition to citizens who have recovered from the virus who have had the virus over 6 months ago, all according to Tawakkalna application. 

Furthermore, citizens under the age of 18 must present, before travelling, an insurance policy approved by the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia that covers the risks of COVID-19 outside the Kingdom.

Moreover, individuals seeking to travel outside the Kingdom must avoid traveling with symptoms, and have comprehensive and valid health insurance before traveling. In cases where traveling is urgent, it is necessary to fully understand the precautionary and preventive measures. Citizens who are traveling must monitor their health. If they notice any COVID-19 symptoms, they must go to the nearest health facility outside the country to check the level of the virus spread in their intended destination and make sure they can travel to the desired country. They must also be aware of the entry requirements of the country they are traveling to, such as:  Lab tests and quarantine and isolation rules. They must also be extremely cautious when traveling to high-risk countries. Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) spokesman, Ibrahim Al-Rusa, stressed airports’ readiness for flights, after midnight tonight. Citizens will be allowed to travel outside the country in accordance with health controls and requirements.

He revealed that 385 flights took off from 9 international airports in the Kingdom, including King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah with 75 flights, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh with 225 flights, and King Fahad International Airport in Dammam with 66 flights, in addition to several other airports, in accordance with the operational plans and health procedures of the current phase. The aim is to facilitate travel process for citizens, which is why all relevant facilities and employees will be subject to the preventive measures recommended by the concerned health authorities.

Noteworthy, the authority issued an updated guidebook for travelers in Arabic and English, in accordance with the health measures. It is a guiding framework for travelers at the Kingdom's airports. It contains a group of measures that travelers will be dealing with throughout their trip. 
Ibrahim Al-Rusa emphasized applying all preventive measures against the Coronavirus in all airports of the Kingdom. Additionally, travelers must download and activate Tawakkalna application, obtain their tickets online before heading to the airport, and be at the airport early. He noted that only travelers are allowed into airports; with the exception of accompanying individuals who have disabilities.

Moreover, if the aircrew found a suspected COVID-19 case on the plane, the situation will be handled professionally, as all aircrews are highly trained. Some seats will be designated as a quarantine area to deal with potential emergencies during the flight. A crew member will be appointed to deal with the patient and limit their movement as much as possible. Upon arrival, the patient's luggage will be received and handled according to the procedures followed. The case will then be transferred to a hospital through special safe routes at airports, according to MOH’s strategy.  

Non-Saudi travelers must abide by the procedures announced by MOI and adhere to the precautionary measures and health protocols applied at airports and their facilities.  Travelers will be asked to proceed to the specified routes leading to passport and customs control, and special routes will be dedicated to immunized individuals. 

Last Update : 23 May 2021 08:55 AM
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