MOH News

MOH: COVID-19 Variants Emerge Due to Falling Short of Health Goals
28 November 2021

​MOH spokesman, Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali, said that the pandemic is still present globally, with several regions around the world witnessing an increase in the number of active cases. The reason for this surge is the failure to maintain proper vaccine coverage. It is also the result of several individuals, especially the elderly, spending 6 months without taking the booster shot. The inability of governments to strictly apply the precautionary measures has also contributed to this increase.

The symptoms of the booster shot are not different from the symptoms of the first two doses. This shot is necessary whether or not there are new variants. Dr. Al-Abdulaali added that over 47 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given to people in the Kingdom. Nearly 22.3 million people have received the two doses of the vaccine. 24 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Kingdom, bringing the total cases to 549,695. Additionally, 2,006 active cases were reported, including 48 critical cases.

The MOH spokesman made this statement in the COVID-19 briefing held on Sunday, with the participation of MOI spokesman, Talal Al-Shalhoub, the official spokesman of Hajj and Umrah Ministry, Hisham Abdul-Mon’em Saeed, and the Executive Director General of the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya), Dr. Abdullah Al-Quwizani. Al-Abdulaali mentioned that 32 COVID-19 recoveries were reported, bringing the total number of recoveries 38,856 to date. And new mortalities were reported, bringing the total number to 8,833.

For his part, Al-Shalhoub said that after continuous follow-up of the epidemiological situation, it was decided to suspend flights to 7 African countries and suspend entry to the Kingdom for non-nationals arriving directly or indirectly from these countries. Individuals who have spent at least 14 days in another country before traveling to the Kingdom are the only exception to this rule. The approved institutional 5-day quarantine days will be imposed on all groups coming from these countries, including citizens of the Kingdom, regardless of their immunization status.

All preventive measures are subject to continuous assessment by the concerned health authorities in the Kingdom, according to developments in the epidemiological situation globally. Citizens and residents are warned against traveling to the aforementioned countries until further notice.

Direct entry to the Kingdom from the following countries was permitted, without the condition of spending 14 days outside them before entering the Kingdom. These countries are:  Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt and India. The decision comes into effect starting at 1:00 am on Wednesday 4/26/1443AH corresponding to 12/1/2021, with a 5-day institutional quarantine imposed on travelers, regardless of their immunization status outside the Kingdom. Exceptions will be made for only some groups.

Al-Shalhoub noted that violators of the institutional quarantine will face a fine worth SAR 200,000, or a prison sentence of up to 2 years. In some cases, both penalties may be applied.
If the violation was repeated, the penalty previously applied would be doubled. 

If the violation was committed by a resident in KSA, they shall be deported from the Kingdom. They shall also be permanently prohibited from entering the Kingdom following the application of the penalty.

Last week, 871 violations of the precautionary measures were recorded in the Kingdom, and all legal measures were taken against the violators. Al-Shalhoub urged everyone to report any violations they encounter to the number 999 in all regions of the Kingdom, and 911 in Makkah and Riyadh. They can also report violations to the government agencies overseeing the private sector.

The spokesman of Hajj and Umrah Ministry Hisham Abdul-Mon’em Saeed, said that the Kingdom's main goal is to preserve the health and safety of the pilgrims. They are allowed to enter the Kingdom with a Umrah visa. Individuals who received the vaccines approved in the Kingdom can directly perform Umrah without being quarantined.

A 3-day quarantine is necessary for pilgrims arriving with a Umrah visa and have received a vaccine accredited by WHO. 48 hours after the quarantine, a negative PCR test must be submitted. Afterwards, they will be allowed to perform Umrah.

For his part, Dr. Abdullah Al-Quwizani, said that the new Omicron mutant has been detected in some countries, like South Africa and other surrounding countries. Omicron has been classed as a "variant of concern” by WHO. 

Thankfully, no Omicron cases have been detected in the Kingdom so far.

He stressed the importance of adhering to the precautionary measures and completing the vaccination and booster dose. He added that it is essential to check the health status of individuals in facilities and establishments using ‘Tawakkalna’ application. If a person starts to notice symptoms, they must isolate themselves immediately. Individuals arriving to the Kingdom from the aforementioned countries must get a PCR test to ensure they are clear of the virus.

Last Update : 30 November 2021 08:47 AM
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