Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia records 2,691 new cases, total now 62,545

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Saudi Arabia has recorded a steady increase of 2,691 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, raising the total to 62,545, according to the health ministry.

A ministry spokesman said 10 people who had previously tested positive for the virus have died, raising the Kingdom’s relatively low death toll to 339.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

Saudi Arabia continues to expand its testing efforts with 18,094 new screenings conducted over the past 24 hours. The Kingdom has so far administered 636,178, according to the health ministry.

Despite an increase in daily confirmed infections, the number of recoveries continues to grow as well with 1,844 new recoveries. A total of 33,478 individuals have recovered so far in the Kingdom.

The spokesman said the virus outbreak may seem like it has become less aggressive, however, nothing about the virus has actually changed and it can still spread as fast and as aggressive as it has been. What has changed, he said, is the habits and actions of individuals as people comply with preventative measures resulting in a slower spread of the virus in the Kingdom.

The country has the most total confirmed coronavirus cases in the region. However, it is also by far the largest country in the GCC, both in terms of population and area.

The Kingdom confirmed its first cases on March 2 when an infected Saudi Arabian national returned from Iran. Government officials were quick to implement measures including lockdowns, curfew, shutting down domestic and international travel, as well as closing businesses and mosques. Saudi Arabia even suspended prayers in Islam's two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina.

Despite easing some restrictions and re-opening malls and businesses under strict measures, family gatherings of more than five people are still banned throughout the country. All gatherings for occasions such as weddings, funerals, parties, and such have also been banned. Overnight, the Ministry of Interior announced that residents who violate any coronavirus-related precautionary measures will be deported and banned from re-entry.

The Interior Ministry last week announced there will be a full day lockdown and curfew across the Kingdom during the upcoming Eid holidays from May 23 until May 27.

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