No coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia so far: Health Ministry

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RIYADH — The Kingdom has so far not registered any confirmed case of new Coronavirus (COVID-19) and it is putting all efforts to prevent the entry of the epidemic into its territories with regular follow-ups and implementation of precautionary measures, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday night quoting spokesman of the Ministry of Health Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali.

The report said that the Kingdom is following up and implementing the highest levels of vigilance and precautions to deal with the virus in an ideal manner, he said.

Al-Abdulaali’s made the statement after the meeting of the follow-up Committee on the spread of Coronavirus in the Chinese province of Wuhan under the chairmanship of Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. The meeting in which a number of government authorities took part was held at the headquarters of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) in Riyadh on Thursday, the report added.

Al-Abdulaali said: “The Kingdom, through its health authorities and systems, is taking a slew of precautionary and preventive measures along with the collective efforts of several government bodies at the various transit points — land crossing points, airports and seaports — to prevent the entry of the virus.

The Kingdom is using several highly-equipped and internationally-approved medical methods following the highest standards to identify virus carriers and those showing symptoms of infection during the virus’ incubation period.”

He added: “This is being done in addition to raising the level of readiness to monitor, deal with cases and detect them in the Kingdom via the health system network and existing health facilities. Apart from this, all attempts are being made to heighten the level of health awareness in the society about the protection as well as to raise the capabilities of laboratories.”

He further said that with the existence of crowds of people, the risk of spread of the virus infection is high. The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the epidemic a public health emergency and it is causing concern worldwide, he said, according to the report.

Al-Abdulaali pointed out that the growing cases of the disease in several countries of the world, including countries surrounding the Kingdom faces increasing risks.

Dr. Al-Abdulaali has said that the Kingdom realizes its responsibility toward protecting the citizens, Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the holy sites and the two holy mosques. He drew attention to a slew of decisions taken by the Kingdom while carrying out its responsibility toward protection.

The Health Ministry spokesman stressed that the Kingdom is one of the first countries to be in a perpetual state of vigilance and fully geared up to deal with the epidemic. He lauded the cumulative experience, which has become an attribute for which the Kingdom has become well-known, especially the level of its readiness to interact and deal with large crowds and provide medical care to them.

He referred to several work systems, coordination committees, command and control centers, and centers to respond to health crises and emergencies, which the authorities concerned have assigned the task of taking care of health affairs in the Kingdom. With this, the Kingdom has set up a complete and integrated system to make sure that all the competent bodies carry out their roles perfectly, hence ensuring prevention and protection for citizens and expatriates. He prayed to Allah Almighty to protect all from this disease and from all health problems.

Meanwhile, Kingdom’s Gulf neighbors are battling the deadly virus as Bahrain on Friday reported six new cases. The umber of those infected with the virus in Bahrain has now risen to 36, Bahrain News Agency reported on Friday. The new cases were found in three Bahraini women who returned from Iran on indirect flights through Bahrain International Airport. The women were tested upon their arrival and were immediately transferred to an isolation center for treatment. The Ministry of Health confirmed that all those infected with the lethal virus are stable and being treated under the supervision of specialized medical staff. The ministry reiterated its call for all citizens and residents who visited Iran or those who had been in contact with people who traveled to Iran to schedule a medical exam to ensure they are not infected. – SPA/SG


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