Saudi Arabia’s coronavirus daily case numbers have more than doubled over the past few days due to mass field testing, according to the health ministry.
Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.
Just last week, the Kingdom was recording about 500 new cases every 24 hours. But since Friday, when the health minister announced that medical teams had begun actively conducting mass coronavirus screenings in densely populated neighborhoods, the Kingdom has reported a growing number of cases every day.
On Saturday, the Kingdom reported its highest daily increase yet with 1,132 new cases – more than double the 518 new cases confirmed on Thursday, the day before mass screening was announced.
“We are conducting mass [screenings] of COVID19, to proactively increase efforts to reach populations within neighborhoods and individuals in their homes,” Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah said on Twitter.
We are conducting mass surveillance of COVID19, to proactively increase efforts to reach populations within neighborhoods and individuals in their homes. We’ve also expanded the drive-through testing, to identify cases early on, thereby minimizing the need for hospitalization. pic.twitter.com/xrwRz90htS— توفيق الربيعة (@tfrabiah) April 17, 2020
Medics in personal protective equipment (PPE) have been checking temperatures of residents and conducting coronavirus swab tests for people in their homes.
Read more: Saudi Arabia records 1,132 new cases in 24 hours
On Friday, the health ministry announced that 50 percent of the 762 new cases were detected through field testing. A day later, the percentage increased to 65 percent of the 1,132 new cases recorded.
Most confirmed coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia are of people living in densely populated residential areas, especially neighborhoods that house laborers, according to the health ministry.
Health Ministry Spokesman Mohammed al-Abd al-Ali said increasing the testing capacity is a preventative measure that helps with early detection, therefore leading to faster containment.
“As we continue expanding our efforts, we anticipate an increase in the number of cases in the upcoming days,” the health ministry said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia’s health minister had said earlier this month that 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 ministry has also been producing and distributing handouts in different languages to provide public health information to expatriates living in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has so far confirmed 9,362 cases, 1,398 recoveries and 92 deaths.