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    COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Warns against Rumors

    COVID-19 Monitoring Committee Warns against Rumors, Urges all to Get Information from Authentic Sources

    On Tuesday morning, the COVID-19 Monitoring Committee held its 55th meeting. Chaired by the Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, the meeting was attended by the committee members, who represent the relevant government agencies. During the meeting, all relevant COVID-19 updates and reports were reviewed. The committee has discussed the global epidemiological situation, as well as the cases reported locally and their health condition. All precautionary measures carried out at the points of entry into the Kingdom will continue in full, the Committee stressed, and will be further tightened. The Committee commended the citizens’ compliance with the curfew, and called on them to stay home, and refrain from going unless necessary.

    The meeting was followed by a joint press conference, the participants in which included Dr. Muhammad al-Abdulaali, MOH spokesman, and Dr. Ahmed Jameel Qattan, Worker Housing Committee spokesman.

    The MOH spokesman mentioned that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has amounted 1,900,000 cases, of which 462,000 cases have recovered to date. As for the COVID-19 death toll, it has jumped to 120,000 deaths.

    “Speaking of the Kingdom,” Al-Abdulaali said, “we have 435 new confirmed cases, to be added to the total number of cases.” He mentioned that the new cases were reported in the following cities: 114 in Riyadh, 111 in Makkah, 69 in Dammam, 50 in Madinah, 46 in Jeddah, 16 in Al-Hafouf, 10 in Buraidah, 7 in Dhahran, 4 in Tabuk, 1 in Al-Kharj, 1 in Khobar, 1 in Hail, 1 in Taif, 1 in Al-Baha, 1 in Samtah, 1 in Bisha and 1 in Abha.

    He mentioned that this brings the total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom to 5,369 cases, including 4,407 active cases receiving medical care. Of these, there are 59 critical cases, whereas the health condition of the rest is reassuring. The number of new recoveries is 84, bringing the total recoveries to 889 cases. And the number of new deaths is 8, bringing the total deaths to 73 cases. The new deaths are all non-Saudis, 4 in Madinah, 3 in Makkah and 1 in Jeddah, most of them with chronic diseases, and their ages between 41-71 years, he said.

    Al-Abdulaali reiterated the importance of getting information from the authentic sources and warned against listening to rumors and lies. Addressing the rumors that the disease only affected the elderly, he said, “This is untrue. People of all ages can be infected by the COVID-19. The cases recorded in the Kingdom include less than one-day old babies and 90-year old persons. Globally, there are cases recorded in the very first few hours or in the second day of an infant’s life. All age groups must follow the precautionary measures and not listen to rumors.”

    On whether or not the transmission of the virus is high in winter and low in summer he said, “There is no confirmed reliable scientific finding that proves this or if that the virus is seasonal, and it is still a new virus that has not yet experienced different seasons for us to confirm such claim.” He said that there were no evidences that domestic animals and mosquitoes could transmit the disease. In general, we have to make sure that animals are clean, healthy and disease-free before approaching them because they can transmit other diseases. Gargling with water and salt and other components or rinsing the nose with it has not been proven to prevent the coronavirus. On the contrary, it may even be harmful and causes dryness, scratches, and cracks in the nose.

    He called on everyone to get information from the authenticated sources of the government agencies’ websites. He pointed out to “Live Well” platform for raising health awareness. The platform, which is published by MOH on its social media pages, provides accurate information about the health of all community strata.

    He reiterated that anyone who develops symptoms, or is willing to get medical advice, can use the self-assessment application ‘Mawid’, or call 937, which works around the clock.

    For his part, Dr. Qattan said a committee led by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has been set up to look after the housing conditions of expat workers. The committee meets daily and reviews all statistics about the workers housing throughout the Kingdom. It has taken quick measures to curb the spread of the virus in the housing areas, including launching an online portal to build a database of housing alternatives for such workers. There are nearly 1,000 properties that could accommodate 250,000 residents with 60,000 rooms, he said, adding that the committee has formed a team to coordinate with the representatives of the private sector to improve the conditions in the housing compounds.

    In cooperation with the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya), new requirements were added to the workers housing executive regulations so as to be in conformity with the measures taken to fight COVID-19, he said. The committee also activated a hotline number (940) for those who have a complaint or wanted to report housing violations. He mentioned that a campaign will be launched to raise the awareness of all expat workers about the precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    Dr. Qattan called on private businesses with housing compound for their workers to improve the housing area as quickly as possible and to provide rooms for isolating infected and suspected cases. He also urged them to clean and disinfect the housing area no less than once or twice a week and to examine the workers one or two times a day.

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