Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia official says youth spreading COVID-19 in Riyadh

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The recent spike in coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh has mainly occurred among young people who may not have been following precautionary measures, said an official at the Kingdom’s Health Ministry in an interview with Al-Ekhbariah TV Channel reported on Saturday.

Riyadh has borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic in Saudi Arabia, consistently reporting the highest number of infections per region as the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom continued to rise through June.

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According to Abdullah Asiri, the assistant undersecretary for preventive health at the Ministry of Health, many of the new cases have been young people, who have often showed no symptoms and may have been violating the precautionary measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

“During the past days, we have seen a lot of COVID-19 cases among the youth. These are mainly asymptomatic cases and a possible cause of the spread and transmission of the infection in their homes in large numbers. These youth have possibly been in noncompliance of the precautionary and preventative measures,” Asiri told Al-Ekhbariah TV Channel, as reported by Saudi Gazette on Saturday.

Saudi Arabians at a cafe in the mall in Riyadh, June 4, 2020. (AFP)
Saudi Arabians at a cafe in the mall in Riyadh, June 4, 2020. (AFP)

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Riyadh prepared but guidelines necessary

Asiri also said that drivers who do not follow precautionary measures could have contributed to the rise in cases, and urged residents of the Kingdom to follow the ministry’s guidelines to prevent further spread.

”If everyone is committed to the precautionary and preventive measures, in a few weeks we would see a drop in the number of afflicted cases, as has happened in several other countries,” he said, via Saudi Gazette.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

Despite the rise in cases, Riyadh currently has enough hospital beds and intensive care units, he said.

Nevertheless, he voiced his concern at the daily rise in cases in the capital and the resulting pressure on healthcare systems.

The total number of cases in the Kingdom is 123,308 as of Sunday, following a rise of 3,366 cases in 24 hours. The death toll is 932.

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