Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia cases could reach 200,000 within weeks, says minister

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Saudi Arabia’s health minister said the Kingdom's coronavirus cases could reach between 10,000 to 200,000 within weeks based on four different studies conducted by Saudi and foreign experts, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday. Dr. Tawfig al-Rabiah said the results indicate a constant increase in the numbers rather than a decrease.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

“There is no doubt that our commitment to the instructions and procedures, in its entirety reduces the number of cases to the minimum, while non-compliance will lead to a huge increase in the number of cases,” al-Rabiah was quoted as saying by SPA.

He also said the numbers in the coming stages depend on everyone's cooperation and commitment to the instructions and precautionary measures. Many people did not take the dangers of the pandemic seriously enough, according to the health minister.

Saudi Arabia dealt with the crisis with “transparency and clarity” in order for the citizens to be aware of the latest developments, according to al-Rabiah.

Saudi Arabia implements coronavirus measures

The Kingdom has implemented several measures to slow the spread of the deadly virus. The latest being a 24-hour curfew and lockdown imposed on the cities of Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran and Hofuf and throughout the governorates of Jeddah, Taif, Qatif and Khobar. Al-Rabiah said this was imposed in an effort to keep traffic and gatherings at a minimum. Studies show the rate of traffic is 46 percent which is inacceptable and defeats the purpose, the health minister added.

Read: Saudi's King Salman orders treatment for all, including visa violators

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered coronavirus treatment to be available for anyone in need of medical care, including people who have overstayed their visa in the Kingdom.

Entry and prayer in the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina have been halted until further notice. Main prayers as well as Friday prayers at mosques throughout the Kingdom have also been suspended. The decision to suspend prayers at mosques came after a meeting between Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, and the Minister of Health.

The health ministry recorded a total of 2,795 cases so far and the death toll reached 41 as of Tuesday.

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