The health minister said such bold decisions need coordination between all government bodies. (SPA)
Recoveries continue to outpace number of COVID-19 infections in KSA
JEDDAH: Within 24 hours of launching a three-phase rollout of vaccines in the Kingdom, over 150,000 people registered through the Health Ministry’s Sehaty app, said the Saudi health minister on Wednesday.
Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah urged Saudis and expatriates to register as soon as possible keeping in mind the plan announced by the authorities giving priority to certain vulnerable groups.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday received the first batch of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.
The vaccine has passed all testing stages and contains a strong immune response against the virus, the ministry said. The treatment is free for all citizens and residents as per the directives of the Saudi leadership.
Al-Rabiah said in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the Kingdom had to take exceptional decisions to control the spread of the virus such as suspending Umrah and shifting government work and education online.
The health minister said such bold decisions need coordination between all government bodies.
Al-Rabiah also highlighted the “peerless dedication” of healthcare workers in the fight against the virus.
The health chief expects the virus to end once everybody in the Kingdom is vaccinated.
The decline in the number of infections in Saudi Arabia compared to other countries came as a result of early preparations by providing health services and applying precautions, he said.
The minister said more than 200 centers have been established across the Kingdom to serve as testing hubs for COVID-19. These centers release results in about 12 hours, he added.
The vaccination campaign will undergo three stages, and each stage has target groups.
The first stage will cover citizens and residents who are over 65 years, those who are most vulnerable to infection, people who are obese and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40, those who have immune deficiency such as organ transplantation or take immunosuppressive drugs, people with a history of a previous stroke, and those who have two or more chronic diseases including asthma, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
The second phase targets people who are over 50 years, health practitioners, and those who have one of the following chronic diseases: Asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease including coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and active cancer, and those with obesity with BMI between 30–40.
The final stage targets all citizens and residents who wish to receive the vaccine.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a steady decline in the number of new infections. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry recorded 180 new cases bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the Kingdom to 360,335 since the pandemic began.
With the decline in new infections, the number of active cases is also falling. Currently, there are only 3,063 active cases receiving treatment out of which 463 are critical.
According to the ministry, 11 more patients died of virus-related complications raising the death toll to 6,080.
The ministry also reported 199 new recoveries over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of people free from the deadly virus to 351,192, with the recovery rate climbing to 97.46 percent.