Saudi Ministry of Health (MoH) stated that around 2,200 beds have been dedicated to quarantine cases of coronavirus, known as Covid-19. The ministry has equipped 25 hospitals throughout the Kingdom to deal with any coronavirus infection that may be detected.
Furthermore, in its intensifying efforts to halt the transmission of infections, the Saudi MoH has also added up 1,400 isolation rooms in the Kingdom’s hospitals to receive patients with severe symptoms.
MoH’s hospitals have 1,449 negative pressure isolation rooms, according to the specifications in hospitals across the Kingdom’s provinces. The ministry has provided 870 high-efficiency portable air filtration devices for the isolation rooms.
Isolation rooms are also equipped with an air-conditioning system using lower air pressure, created to prevent the transmission of diseases from one patient to another or to workers at the hospitals.
Saudi Arabia announced its first case of the new coronavirus on March 2, amid growing fears that a surge in the number of those infected in Iran is threatening the whole region. The Kingdom had been free of the virus for more than three months as it spread from China to 66 countries worldwide. The majority of those infected in the Middle East have recently traveled to Iran, or have been in contact with someone who has been there.
The Saudi’s patient was recorded to have traveled from Iran via Bahrain over the King Fahd Causeway, according to the MoH. The man was immediately quarantined and all those he has been in contact with were also being tested.
On March 8, Saudi MoH announced three new cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom. A man who traveled from Iran via Kuwait has been infected and transmitted the virus to his wife. Another citizen who has been infected also came from Iran via Bahrain. He traveled in the same vehicle as to the first and second cases of COVID-19 that were previously announced.
In order to ensure public safety and prevent the spread of coronavirus, Saudi Arabia has placed a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims. Most foreign pilgrims who often visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah before or after the completion of their religious duties in Makkah has also been halted.
The authorities stated that it is one of a number of precautionary restrictions to closely monitor the spread of the virus. Tourist-visa holders from countries concluded to pose a particularly high risk of spreading the virus will also be denied entry.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also stated that it supports the Kingdom’s actions to protect pilgrims and visitors from coronavirus that is in accordance with Sharia law.
Additionally, Saudi nationals and citizens of GCC nations will not be able to use a national identity card to travel to and from the Kingdom temporarily. Health authorities at entry points will verify which countries travelers visited before arriving in the Kingdom and apply all necessary precautionary measures.
Saudi officials underlined that the restrictions are temporary and will be continuously reviewed by the health authorities. They restated the Kingdom’s support for and implementation of international efforts to limit the spread of the virus, and the Foreign Ministry advised citizens not to travel to the countries worst affected by the virus.