Saudi Arabia to make cautious return to normal life from Sunday

A worker takes the temperature of a passenger at a train station in the Kingdom on May 31, 2020. (SPA)

RIYADH (RAHNUMA): Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health set out the third phase of its plan to return life in the Kingdom to normal amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but warned that the danger had not passed.

“The virus is still around, it’s still active, and the pandemic continues,” said ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly. “There isn’t a cure yet, but we remain hopeful. We return to normalcy, but carefully. We now know of all the preventive measures and how to deal with the pandemic through research and studies over the past period. Applying precautionary measures to our day-to-day lives will limit the chances for contracting the disease.”

He said that 50 percent of recorded cases in the past period had been due to social contact. He explained that the ministry looked at various components of the pandemic and not just the daily recorded numbers of cases and deaths. This approach helped it to monitor the pandemic’s progression throughout the Kingdom.

“We look into areas where the spread is rapid and active. It’s how we decide the areas that require further regulation.”

Al-Aly urged people to visit the closest Tetamman Clinic if they were experiencing any symptoms. He stressed that the clinics worked around the clock and that an appointment was not necessary.

He revealed that the ministry’s “Taakad” (make sure) service had tested more than 70,000 people.

Saudi Arabia has added dexamethasone to its COVID-19 treatment protocols. But the assistant deputy minister for therapeutic affairs at the ministry, Dr. Ahmed Al-Jedai, cautioned people to not use it without a doctor’s prescription.

“This medicine belongs to the cortisone family, and it helps specific patients in certain degrees of the infection; that includes inpatients who need to be ventilated in ICUs, or those who need oxygen. However, it is not a direct cure for COVID-19.”

The Kingdom recorded 48 new COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday, raising the total to 1,139.

There were 4,757 new cases reported, meaning 145,991 people have now contracted the disease. There are 50,937 active cases, 1,877 of them are in critical condition.

According to the Health Ministry, 1,442 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, while Makkah recorded 399 and Jeddah recorded 300.

The ministry also announced that 2,253 more patients had recovered from coronavirus, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 93,915.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 1,198,273 tests for COVID-19.

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