MOH News

MOH: COVID-19 Pandemic Curve on the Rise in the Kingdom
19 December 2021

 MOH spokesman, Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali, said that the pandemic is still prevalent globally, with several regions around the world witnessing an increase in the number of infections. He pointed out that there are a lot of scientific discussions and media talks about the Omicron variant, which is classified as worrisome. So far, it has been detected in almost half of the world's countries. 

“We started seeing a rise in the epidemiological curve in the Kingdom over the past few days. This is a matter of concern for us. On the other hand, the number of critical cases is stabilizing, but it remains crucial to maintain the level of immunity in the body to combat the virus and its variants. This can happen by taking a booster shot of the vaccine. It is also necessary to adhere to all preventive measures, like wearing face masks in public and crowded places,” Dr. Al-Abdulaali said. He noted that a campaign to give the vaccine to children over the age of 5 will be launched soon. He mentioned that over 48 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given to people across the Kingdom. Nearly 22.9 million people are currently fully vaccinated, which is reassuring.  

Al-Abdulaali revealed that 104 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Kingdom, bringing the total cases to 550,842. Additionally, 1,901 active cases were reported, including 33 critical cases.
The MOH spokesman made this statement in the COVID-19 briefing held on Sunday, with the participation of the spokesman of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD), Mr. Saad Abdullah Al Hammad, and the Executive Director General of the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya), Dr. Abdullah Al-Quwizani. Al-Abdulaali mentioned that 98 COVID-19 recoveries were reported, bringing the total number of recoveries to 540,079 to date. And one new death was reported, bringing the total number to 8,862.

 Dr. Abdullah Al-Quwizani said that the Omicron variant has been detected in 94 countries around the world, including over 29 countries that recorded a community spread. He pointed out that the number of recorded cases reached 34,902, of which about 88% are in Europe. The percentage of the Omicron variant found in samples on which genomic sequencing was performed was estimated at 5.4%. Noteworthy, the Delta variant is still as prevalent worldwide.  

Omicron has a greater ability to grow and cause secondary infections compared to the Delta variant. Current scientific data and studies indicate that the booster shot of the vaccine resists variants 25 times more than only the first two doses. This means that it is essential to get a booster shot as soon as possible. 

Dr. Al-Quwizani explained that based on the epidemiological updates, Weqaya recommends avoiding travel outside the Kingdom unless it is necessary, especially if it involves high-risk countries according to the COVID-19 international risk assessment published on Weqaya website. He also advised travelers to avoid social contact for 5 days after their return from a trip. They must also wear face masks at all times, as well as avoid public and crowded areas during travel and upon return, and get a PCR if respiratory symptoms or fever appear. He called on everyone to adhere to the preventive measures to reduce the transmission of the virus, by wearing face masks in closed places and open areas with large gatherings. Wearing a mask is essential in stadiums and sports facilities, wedding halls, recreational and cultural events, and public markets.

For his part, Mr. Saad Al Hammad, said that the ministry continued its inspection tours across the Kingdom last November. These tours are thoroughly implemented by the Ministry’s field teams to ensure that the preventive measures are applied within workplaces. 141,100 tours were carried out last November across the Kingdom. The Ministry has recorded 400 violations of the precautionary measures by private sector establishments. Moreover, 1,127 violations were recorded against individuals who breached the precautionary and preventive measures inside workplaces in the private sector.  9,500 warnings were issued against private sector establishments, and about 6,200 reports were made against several others. The total number of violations of the precautionary measures in the private sector reached 1,527.

Al Hammad added that the Ministry firmly continues its inspection tours to ensure that owners of establishments require employees to show “Tawakkalna” application in order for their health status to be checked when they enter workplaces. The inspection tours also ensure that the precautionary measures are adhered to inside workplaces to keep them safe and healthy.

Being fully vaccinated is essential for preserving the gains achieved so far. Maintaining these stable conditions will help overcome the pandemic. “This can only happen if we cooperate with one other to complement the efforts made by the Saudi government since the start of the pandemic, putting human health first,” he added. 

He concluded his speech by stressing three main points:
Being fully vaccinated does not mean neglecting the precautionary measures inside or outside workplaces. “We have all heard what the authorities announced about the emergence of the Omicron variant, which requires caution and strict adherence to the precautionary measures to preserve everybody’s safety. We call upon everyone to get their information about the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development from official sources only, and report violations in the labor market using ‘Monitor Together’ application, available on smartphones, call the unified number for complaints (19911) or use any of the Ministry’s official social media pages,” he said. 

Last Update : 21 December 2021 08:44 AM
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