The risk level of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Saudi Arabia dropped in the past nine days, according to a COVID-19 risk level map developed by a team of health experts.
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The map, which was developed by teams at Harvard’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, determines the severity of an outbreak in a given country based on the number of new daily reported cases.
The coronavirus outbreak in Saudi Arabia had ranked at the orange risk level earlier this month– the second highest risk category – which means the virus is quickly spreading, data developed by a network of health research experts showed.
However, as of Monday, July 13, the outbreak in the Kingdom now ranks at the yellow level – the second lowest rank, one rank below orange.
The metrics suggest different responses based on the level that would help effectively contain the outbreak of COVID-19.
Saudi Arabia has been reporting this week an average of 9.7 cases for every 100,000 people, according to the data, with experts recommending rigorous testing and tracing programs.
Last week, the Kingdom had been reporting an average of 11.1 cases for every 100,000 people.
Saudi Arabia’s pandemic response has been in line with the experts’ recommendation. So far, a total of 2,270,719 COVID-19 tests have been conducted.
The Kingdom began its return to “normalcy” on June 21 but has continued to impose strict measures, such as issuing fines and handing down jail sentences to those who violate preventative measures.
The contact tracing app Tawakkalna was also developed to help prevent the coronavirus from spreading further.
The different risk levels and the recommended responses for each are as follows.
Green risk level: Canada, China, Italy, others
Countries that report less than one case per every 100,000 people are assigned the green risk level and are on track for containment, according to the experts. Countries with this level of risk include Canada, China, Algeria, Spain, and Italy.
To ensure that the number of infections does not rise, countries at the green level must monitor cases with viral testing and contact tracing programs, they said.
Yellow risk level: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Russia, others
Governments reporting an average of one to nine cases per every 100,000 people a day fall under the yellow risk level. Alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia all fall within this category.
At the yellow level, community spread – when an individual picks up the virus from a person who has been infected – is the most common cause for rising infections.
The experts recommend rigorous testing and tracing programs to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Orange risk level: Qatar, US, Brazil, others
If a country reports an average of 10 to 24 cases a day per every 100,000 people, that country receives an orange risk level designation. At this stage, the virus is spreading quickly and stay-at-home orders and ramped up testing and tracing programs are advised.
Qatar, the United States, Brazil, and Kuwait fall in this category.
Red risk level: Oman, Bahrain, French Guiana
Countries that report more than 25 cases for every 100,000 people a day are at the red risk level, the most severe designation. There are three countries in the red level category: Oman, Bahrain, and French Guiana.
Qatar had previously ranked at this level, but the number of daily reported cases has dropped in recent days.
A complete lockdown is necessary at this stage to prevent the virus from spreading further, according to the experts.
A unified approach for suppressing the coronavirus, with common metrics so countries can anticipate and get ahead of the virus, is necessary, the Vice President for Global Biological Policy and Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative Beth Cameron told Global Pandemics.
Globally, there have been 12,934,317 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 569,697 virus-related deaths, according to a tally by John Hopkins University.