COVID-19 pandemic situation in Saudi Arabia

By Arwa Khan

The COVID-19 pandemic has distressed the region of Saudi Arabia. The current worldwide crisis could transform socio-economic difficulties into political emergencies and escalate the requests for change that are spreading through different nations in the Middle East and the West. Until a successful vaccine against the pandemic is found and made accessible, the financial and social cost of the extreme limitations imposed by the Arab governments might be overwhelming and, eventually, excruciating. 

Most countries in the region have national quick response for punctual examination and response to public wellbeing threats. In any case, staff in these national teams will require reformed training to research and respond to the new coronavirus situation. 

As of today, total cases reported are 49,176 with 27,015 being active cases amongst which Makkah Al-Mukarramah recorded maximum total cases of 10,343 followed by Riyadh and Jeddah with total cases of 8,849 and 8,478 (for more details click here). So far, the number of recovery cases in the Kingdom is 21,869.

The Kingdom undertook many unprecedented preventive measures at an early stage such as prohibiting congregational prayers in all the mosques including The Haramain, imposing curfew times (5PM-9AM SAST). Important industries and companies have taken precautionary steps to safeguard the employees with the permit to work during curfew hours. 

The Kingdom’s Health Minister, Dr. Tawafiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah had also announced an order given by King Salman bin Abdulaziz AL-Saud that the treatment for all COVID-19 patients will be done free of cost in all the private and government facilities of Saudi Arabia even though they are resident violators.   

Active participation was done by health practitioners by going around crowded areas and high-risk places to carry out testing and identify the cases early. 

Psychological treatment is also provided to all the COVID-19 patients since it is highly likely that symptoms such as depression, anxiety from the disease may arise. 

Precautionary measures were reported by the administration in order to restrict any social gathering during the month of Ramadan and practising social distancing in order to avoid any further cases. Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh advised people to offer Taraweeh prayers and Eid prayer at home as a precaution. 

Even though the health resources are efficient, the economic fallout and disturbing drop in oil prices is pressing their financial and public administrations. More or less, these nations have actualised vast prohibitive measures to contain the spread of the pandemic. In any case, there is a high danger of infection among foreign workers working in the key construction and service sectors. 

This new situation could greatly affect the tourism industry of the country. Likewise, the summit of G20 which was to be held in November 2020 in Saudi Arabia is put on hold, yet discussions and meetings are being carried out virtually on this matter. G20 is an important matter since it involves taking support measures for people and businesses and safeguarding the economic and financial markets.***

(The writer is currently on Internship attachment with IIUMToday. She is reporting directly from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia)

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