Saudi Arabia tests half a million for COVID-19

According to the WHO, people can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth. (File/AFP)

JEDDAH (RAHNUMA): Saudi Arabia has tested 500,000 people using polymerase chain reaction testing (PCR) since the outbreak of coronavirus, the Saudi Ministry of Health revealed on Friday.

The ministry’s spokesman, Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly, said that the increase in recorded cases could be attributed to early detection through tests; the more people tested, the higher the chances are of a quicker recovery.

“With time and as the virus spreads, we uncover different cases through testing, and high-risk areas as well and there is a rate to the increase in COVID-19 cases. That increase is not worrisome if these cases and areas are controlled and monitored, which is the case,” he said.

He added: “There should be a balance; do not worry too much or get too lax with social distancing and other preventive measures.”

The coronavirus curve had been expected to rise up between 10,000 to 200,000 cases by April. The preventive measures applied since April have helped keep that curve to a minimum.

Meanwhile, on Friday the Kingdom recorded 2,307 new cases of COVID-19 — 41 percent of them were Saudis and the rest expats — taking the total number to 49,176 people. There are now 27,015 active cases, 167 of which are in critical condition.

Al-Aly announced 2,818 recoveries — making 21,869 in all — and nine new fatalities, raising the Kingdom’s death toll to 292.

The latest deaths involved a Saudi woman and eight expatriates of several nationalities in Makkah, Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam aged between 43 and 70, most of whom had chronic diseases.

The Health Ministry’s spokesman gave families a few tips on how to help their children cope with the ongoing crisis.

“First, do not display worry and fear in front of them and obsess over the news in their presence; this could build up their anxiety levels,” he said. Other ways to help children include not keeping them completely in the dark, but also explaining things to them to the best of a parent’s capacity, in a manner that will help them understand all of the new changes, including why there has been an increase in encouraging hygienic upkeep, social distancing and staying home.

“It’s also important to listen to their fears, and then create a program for them to keep them busy, combining fun and educational elements,” Al-Aly added.

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