Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia rules out stricter lockdown measures as Omicron spreads

RIYADH-The Ministry of Health has ruled out the possibility of imposing stricter lockdown measures as the mutated coronavirus variant of Omicron spreads, according to the ministry’s spokesman Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdel Ali.
The Ministry of Health official spokesman Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdel Ali during televised interview in a program titled “YaHalaShow” on Rotana Khalijiya channel.

The spokesman’s confirmation came while attending a program titled “YaHalaShow” on Rotana Khalijiya channel on Monday, during which he said that the reason for this is that the symptoms of the pandemic at present in the Kingdom do not have the same intensity as it had during the time of its outbreak early in 2020.

He noted that the Kingdom has made great strides in confronting COVID-19, apart from achieving the sufficient level of awareness among the people to prevent the virus, as well as the high immunity acquired through inoculation.

The pandemic has gone through many stages globally and the Kingdom is part of this world, the spokesman said, noting that the Omicron variant is present in every country across the world without exception.

It has been proved that Omicron is the fastest-spreading virus in history, Dr. Abdel Ali said while attributing this to the sudden spike in cases of infection in the Kingdom. Complementary to this, the spokesman indicated that most of the infections were reported among those who did neither take the vaccine nor complete their doses of vaccine.

The escalation of Omicron will decrease soon, especially after the re-imposition of health precautionary measures, the spokesman said while adding that the studies have proven that the third dose strongly protects against getting infected with the virus, as well as containing its spread.

Studies have proven that the symptoms will be very mild for those who have contracted coronavirus while completing vaccination.

"The percentage of the cases without having severe disease, we do not want it, but it does not constitute a concern" Dr. Al-Abdel Ali said while noting that "the biggest fear and concern are those whose symptoms requires an admission to the intensive care units, and the death rates".

During the interview, the spokesperson noted that the drugs to treat COVID-19 are still under studies, and it is not expected that vaccines will be stopped even with the presence of drugs, stressing the role of committees and experts in the Kingdom to follow up on all health developments.

Saudi Arabia has a sufficient number of vaccines, and one of its humanitarian roles is not limiting the vaccines inside the Kingdom, but to export it abroad.

95 percent of Saudis from the targeted age group in the Kingdom completed their doses, while the proportion of the total population of Saudi Arabia who completed their doses reached between 70% to 75%.

It is noteworthy that the interview with the official spokesman has been held at the headquarters of the National Health Center for Command and Control (CCC), which saw the light two months before the start of the pandemic.

The National Command and Control Center is the first and only national health center in the world, which many sectors have joined to lead, control and follow up on the pandemic.

The CCC is distinguished by its inclusion of 18 detailed panels that contain many data about the pandemic and ways to manage any emergency could occur, monitoring of potential threats, and overseeing preparedness in all MOH’s facilities across regions.

The Spokesman concluded his interview by sending a message to all citizens and residents, saying, “Do not be affected by the false information, and do not let seeing the daily increase in numbers of infected cases cause you to fear and panic, and I call on everyone to complete taking their doses and adhere to preventive precautions.”

Dr. Al-Abdel Ali thanked and raised his highest gratitude and appreciation to every person who helped in addressing the pandemic, as they sacrificed their lives in order to treat patients to preserve their safety and health, where he described them as the "White Army".(SG)

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