Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia reports eight new deaths, 435 new infections

A general view shows almost empty streets, during the 24 hours lockdown to counter the coronavirus outbreak in Riyadh. (File photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia reports eight new coronavirus fatalities and 435 new cases, raising the total number of virus-related deaths in the Kingdom to 73 and the total number of confirmed cases to 5,369, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday.

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A total of 114 new cases were reported in Riyadh, 111 in Mecca, 69 in Dammam, 50 in Medina, and 46 in Jeddah, the ministry said.

Several other cases were also reported in other areas across Saudi Arabia.

The eight new deaths are all of residents, the ministry said, adding that the Kingdom sends its condolences to their loved ones and families.

There is no evidence on how hotter weather could affect the coronavirus, health ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Abd al-Ali said, adding that people should refrain from believing rumors they hear.

Also read: Coronavirus: With 15,000 cases in the Gulf, here is how GCC states are coping

Lifting the lockdown too early may have negative effects and the ministry has continued to assess the situation daily to determine when restrictions will be lifted, he added. The ministry spokesman emphasized the urgent need for citizens and residents to remain at home and maintain social distancing practices to ensure that the virus does not spread further.

Strict measures

Saudi Arabian officials moved swiftly to put measures in place when the Kingdom still had very few confirmed cases of the virus, shutting down domestic and international travel, closing businesses, and eventually imposing 24-hour curfews on all major cities.

While Saudi Arabia may have the highest absolute numbers in the Arabian Gulf, the rate of daily increase has been steadier than its neighbors – between 10-12 percent since April 9, and not rising above 12 percent since March 31.

However, Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Dr. Tawfig al-Rabiah warned that the number of cases in the Kingdom could reach up to 200,000 within weeks, based on four different studies conducted by Saudi and foreign experts. His lower estimate was 10,000.

Al Arabiya English’s Tommy Hilton contributed to this report.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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