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COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia

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COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia
Number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia by region as of 27th May 2020.png
Number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia by region as of 27 May 2020
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationSaudi Arabia
First caseQatif, Eastern Province
Arrival date2 March 2020
(1 year)
OriginWuhan, Hubei, China
Confirmed cases98,869[1]
Recovered71,791[1]
Deaths
676[1]
Official website
www.covid19.cdc.gov.sa

The COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). On March 2, 2020, the Ministry of Health confirmed the first case in Saudi Arabia.[2] By April 8, as many as 150 members of the Saudi royal family had tested positive. The king's nephew, Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud, has been put in the intensive care unit at an elite hospital over coronavirus complications.[3] As of June 6, the kingdom has 98,869 confirmed cases, the highest among the Arabian Gulf States, with 71,791 recoveries and 676 deaths.[1]

Background[edit source | edit]

On January 12, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a group of people in the city of Wuhan, Hubei in China which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[4][5]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[6][7] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[6][8]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/Saudi Arabia medical cases chart

March 2020[edit source | edit]

  • On 2 March, Saudi Arabia confirmed its first case, a Saudi national returning from Iran via Bahrain.[9]
  • On 4 March, Saudi Arabia reported a second coronavirus case, a companion of the first, who crossed the causeway from Bahrain without disclosing that he had visited Iran.[10]
  • On 5 March, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health announced three new cases; two of which were a couple who traveled from Iran via Kuwait and one, another companion of the first and second cases.[11]
  • On 7 March, the Ministry of Health announced a further two cases. One arriving from Iran via Bahrain and the other from Najaf in Iraq through the UAE. Both did not disclose to the authorities their visits to the heavily-struck nations and were thus let in.[12]
  • On 8 March, the MOH announced 4 more cases. Three were citizens who were in contact with previous infected cases arriving from Iran, and the fourth case was a citizen arriving from Iran via the United Arab Emirates.[13]
  • On 9 March, Saudi authorities announced the confirmation of four more coronavirus cases. Broken down by nationality, these were a Saudi national, two Bahraini citizens, and an American. All the cases were quarantined in Qatif and Riyadh.[14]
  • On 10 March, the Ministry of Health confirmed 5 more cases, bringing the total to 20.[15]
  • On 11 March, the Ministry of Health announced the confirmation of 1 more case, an Egyptian traveler.[16] On the same day, the Ministry further announced 24 more cases, 21 of which were Egyptians who had been in contact with the first person who tested positive earlier that day, bringing the country's total to 45.[17]
  • On 12 March, the MOH confirmed 17 new cases, bringing the total in the Kingdom to 62.[18]
  • On 13 March, 24 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total in Saudi Arabia to 86.[19]
  • On 14 March, the Ministry of Health announced 17 new cases, bringing the total in the kingdom to 103.[20]
  • On 15 March, the Ministry of Health confirmed 15 new cases, bringing the total to 118.[21]
  • On 16 March, the Ministry of Health reported 15 new cases, bringing the total to 133.[22]
  • On 17 March, the Ministry of Health reported 38 new cases, bringing the total to 171.[23]
  • On 18 March, the MOH announced 67 new cases, 6 of whom were children, bringing the total in the Kingdom to 238.[24] The ministry also announced the recovery of 6 other cases.[citation needed]
  • On 19 March, Saudi Arabia's health ministry announced 36 new coronavirus cases. The ministry confirmed the total number of coronavirus cases in the Kingdom had reached 274.[25] Two patients recovered bringing the total number of recovered cases to 8.[citation needed]
  • On 20 March, the Ministry of Health 70 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed. The Ministry of Health announced bringing the total in Saudi Arabia to 344.[26] In a statement announced at night, the ministry stated that among the new infections, 11 cases arrived from Morocco, India, Jordan, the Philippines, Britain, the UAE and Switzerland. The 11 cases were directly transferred from the airports and isolated in hospitals. Another case was that of a healthcare practitioner in Riyadh.[27]
  • On 21 March, the MOH announced 48 new COVID-19 cases as the total reached 392.[28] Only official sources can be relied on to provide accurate information, the ministry added.[28]
  • On 22 March, the MOH announced 119 new cases, bringing the total to 511.[29]
  • On 23 March, the Ministry of Health announced 51 new cases, bringing the total to 562.[30] King Salman also issued an order restricting movement from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the kingdom.
  • On 24 March, the Ministry of Health announced 205 new cases, bringing the total in the kingdom to 767. It was announced that a 51-year-old Afghan national in Madinah was the first casualty in the country. He had died the previous day.[31][32]
  • On 25 March, the MOH announced the confirmation of 133 new cases, bringing the total to 900.[33] The ministry also announced the kingdom's second death, a resident of Makkah.[33]
  • On 26 March, the Ministry of Health announced the confirmation of 112 new cases, bringing the total to 1,012.[34] The total recoveries were now at 33.[35]
  • On 27 March, the MOH confirmed 99 new cases, bringing the total to 1,203.[36] 1 more patient had died, bringing the total number of deaths to 4.[36]
  • On 28 March,
  • On 29 March, the Ministry of Health recorded 154 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 1,453.[37] The same day King Salman ordered all COVID-19 patients be treated free of charge, regardless of their visa or iqama (residence permit) status.[37]
  • On 30 March, the ministry recorded 110 cases, bringing the total to 1,563.[38]

April 2020[edit source | edit]

  • On 1 April, 157 new cases were recorded by the ministry, bringing the total to 1,720. 99 recoveries and 6 deaths were also recorded.[39]
  • On 2 April, 165 new cases were reported by the health ministry, meaning that the total number of cases increased to 1,885. 64 recoveries and 5 deaths were recorded.
  • On 3 April, 154 new cases were announced by the health ministry, meaning that the total number of cases reached 2,039. 23 recoveries and 4 deaths were recorded.
  • On 4 April, 140 new cases were recorded. The total number of cases reached 2,179. 69 recoveries and 4 deaths were recorded.
  • On 5 April, 223 new cases were reported, bringing the total number of cases to 2,402. There were 68 new recoveries and 5 new deaths.
  • On 6 April, 203 new cases were reported, bringing the total number of cases to 2,605. 63 new recoveries and 4 deaths were recorded.
  • On 7 April, 190 new cases were announced, bringing the total to 2,795. 64 recoveries and 3 deaths were also recorded.[citation needed]
  • On 8 April, the New York Times reported that as many as 150 members of the Saudi royal family had tested positive. The king's nephew, Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud, is in intensive care for coronavirus complications.[3] 137 new cases and 16 recoveries were recorded. No new deaths were announced, as the total number of cases reached 2,932.[citation needed]
  • On 9 April, 355 new cases were reported, meaning that the total increased to 3,287. 3 new deaths and 35 recoveries were also reported.
  • On 10 April, 364 new cases were reported. The total number of cases reached 3,651. 19 new recoveries and 3 deaths were also reported.
  • On 11 April, 382 new cases were recorded by the ministry, meaning that the total number of cases reached 4,033. 35 new recoveries and 5 deaths were also recorded.[citation needed]
  • On 20 April, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 10,000. Saudi Health Minister Tawfig AlRabiah said: "the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom was the result of active testing."[40]
  • On 28 April, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 20,000, with 17,141 active cases.[41]
  • On 30 April, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 22,000 as 1,351 new cases were confirmed with 17% of the cases found in Saudi nationals and 83% in foreigners.[42]

May 2020[edit source | edit]

  • On 1 May, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 24,000 with 1,344 new cases confirmed on Friday for a total of 24,097.[43]
  • On 4 May, the total number of confirmed cases were 28,656, with 19% of the cases in Saudi citizens.[44]
  • On 5 May, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 30,000.[45]
  • On 9 May, the total number of confirmed cases was 37,136 and the total recovered cases surpassed 10,000.[46]
  • On 17 May, 2,736 new cases were confirmed with 22% of the cases in females and 9% in children, increasing the total confirmed cases to 54,752 with 312 deaths.[47]
  • On 20 May, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 62,000 with 33,478 recoveries, 339 deaths, and 636,178 tests.[48]
  • On 25 May, the total number of confirmed cases were 74,765 with a four day decrease in number of daily new cases.[49]
  • On 28 May, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 80,000 and Saudi Arabia started the first phase of re-opening with the goal of return to "normalcy" in all cities except Mecca by June 21st, 2020.[50][51]

June 2020[edit source | edit]

  • On June 3, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 90,000 with a recovery rate of 74% with 68,159 recoveries.[52]
  • On June 7, the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 with 72,817 recoveries and 712 deaths.[53]

Government responses[edit source | edit]

Closure of Mecca and Medina[edit source | edit]

On 27 February 2020, Saudi Arabia announced a temporary suspension of entry for Muslims wanting to perform the Umrah pilgrimage in Great Mosque of Mecca or to visit the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah. On 5 March, further precautionary measures were taken regarding the safety of the Islamic holy sites, including temporary daily closure of the Great Mosque for sterilization purposes.[54] On 19 March, Saudi Arabia suspended the holding of daily prayers and the Friday prayers in and outside the two mosques in Mecca and Medina to limit the spread of coronavirus.[55] Similar measures were carried out across the country during the same week. On 20 March, Saudi Arabia suspended entry and praying to the general public at the two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina to limit the spread of the coronavirus.[56]

On 30 May 2020, Saudi Arabia announced that mosques will start to re-open from May 31, except for Great Mosque of Mecca.[57]

Repatriation of Saudi citizens[edit source | edit]

On 2 February, 10 Saudi students were repatriated from Wuhan. It was announced the next day that all of them had tested negative for COVID-19.[58] However, they were kept in quarantine for two additional weeks before allowed to return home.[59]

Mobility and Transport[edit source | edit]

On 6 February, Saudi Arabia had announced a travel ban to China on citizens and residents.[60] On 28 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia announced the temporary suspension of entry for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens to Makkah and Madinah.[61] Citizens of the GCC who had been in Saudi Arabia for more than 14 consecutive days and didn't show any symptoms of the COVID-19 would be excluded from this rule.[61] Saudi Arabia has suspended direct passenger flights between the Kingdom and China since early February.[62] On 20 March, The Ministry of Interior suspended domestic flights, trains, buses and taxis for 14 days in a heightened effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19. The new measure was put in place on 2 March 2020.[63]

Curfews[edit source | edit]

On 8 March, the Saudi Arabian government announced that it was temporarily halting all transport in and out of the Qatif Governorate, though residents of the area would be permitted to enter the city. The country's Ministry of Interior stated that all individuals with confirmed cases in the country were from Qatif.[64] On 24 March, a nation-wide curfew was put into place with movement restricted to between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. On 30 March, the Jeddah Governorate was subjected to a curfew by the Ministry of Interior, with all movement to and from the city suspended.[65] The holy cities of Makkah and Madinah were subjected to a 24-hour curfew starting 2 April.[66] On 6 April, it was announced that 24-hour curfews would be implemented in the cities of Riyadh, Dammam, Tabuk, Dhahran and Hofuf and the governorates of Jeddah, Ta'if, Khobar and Qatif, with movement restricted to only essential travel between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.[67]

On June 5, Saudi Arabia re-imposed curfew and restrictions in Jeddah from June 6 to June 20.[68] The restrictions include suspension of prayers in all mosques in the city.[69]

Other measures[edit source | edit]

On 7 March, the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia announced that all sports competitions would be held behind closed doors.[70][71] In addition, it was also announced that the 2020 Saudi Olympics that were scheduled to be held from 23 March to 1 April were suspended until further notice.[72][73] On 14 March, the Ministry announced that all sports competitions would be suspended until further notice along with the closure of all stadiums, sports centers and gyms.[74] On 8 March, the Saudi Ministry of Education announced that all educational institutions, including public and private schools, technical and vocational training institutions[75] will be closed in Saudi Arabia to control the spread of the virus. On 14 March, the Saudi Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs announced that they would be closing all amusement parks and entertainment zones in malls. Sterilization of all restaurants was also made a priority. In addition, the ministry also announced that they would be banning all social events, including funerals and weddings.[76] On 15 March, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs further announced the closure of all shopping malls, restaurants, coffee shops, and public parks and buildings with the exception of pharmacies and supermarkets.[77] Some people have been arrested for allegedly spreading false information about the coronavirus pandemic.[78]

Economic measures[edit source | edit]

On 10 May, 2020, Saudi Arabia announced suspension of the 1000 riyals/month cost-of-living allowance from 1 June, and an increase in the value-added tax from 5% to 15% from 1 July.[79][80] The Kingdom will also cut spending by 100 billion riyals (US$26,600,000,000).[81] The measures are due to a budget deficit of US$9,000,000,000 in the first quarter of 2020, decline in oil prices, and the economic effects of the pandemic.[79][80]

Statistics[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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