‘No sign yet of COVID-19 sum­mer re­ver­sal’

Of­fi­cials re­it­er­ate im­por­tance of pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures

Arab News - - News Saudi Arabia - Ruba Obaid Jed­dah

The Saudi Min­istry of Health on Tues­day played down sugges­tions that the coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) pan­demic might be re­vers­ing dur­ing the hot sum­mer weather. Sev­eral stud­ies are under way to test the pos­si­ble ef­fects of sun­light and heat on the virus.

“Tem­per­a­ture lev­els used in lab­o­ra­to­ries to study the re­silience of the virus dif­fer from the tem­per­a­tures in the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions we live in,” said min­istry spokesman Mo­hammed Al-Abd Al-A ly. “More­over, most of us spend our time in closed places with mod­er­ate tem­per­a­tures.” He said that the best way for peo­ple to pro­tect them­selves and their com­mu­ni­ties from the virus is to con­tinue to fol­low safety ad­vice and take pre­cau­tions rec­om­mended by the min­istry, in­clud­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing. These re­main cru­cially im­por­tant to slow­ing the spread of the dis­ease re­gard­less of the sea­son, he added. Saudi Ara­bia has been part of the in­ter­na­tional ef­fort to com­bat COVID-19 since the early stages of the out­break, and a mem­ber of global health part­ner­ship Gavi, the Vac­cine Al­liance, said Al-Abd Al-Aly.

“Ef­forts to find a vac­cine for the dis­ease have not been con­cluded yet,” he added. “How­ever, the coun­try has bi­lat­eral con­tacts with coun­tries that have op­por­tu­ni­ties or signs of a vac­cine suc­cess story.”

He pointed out that the novel coro­n­avirus is con­sid­ered sta­ble, with no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in dis­ease symp­toms or com­pli­ca­tions based on ge­o­graph­i­cal fac­tors or blood types.

The King­dom re­ported 50 new COVID-19-re­lated deaths on Tues­day, rais­ing the to­tal to 1,649. There were 4,387 new con­firmed cases, which means 190,823 peo­ple have con­tracted the dis­ease. Of these, 58,408 cases re­main ac­tive and 2,278 patients are in crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

The Min­istry of Health said 980 of the new cases were in Al-Ho­fuf, 342 in Riyadh and 308 in Dam­mam. “The main fac­tor be­hind the sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in num­bers in those cities was so­cial gath­er­ings, with a lack of com­mit­ment to pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures and so­cial dis­tanc­ing,” said Al-Abd Al-Aly.

FASTFACTS

The King­dom re­ported 50 new COVID-19-re­lated deaths on Tues­day, rais­ing the to­tal to 1,649.

There were 4,387 new con­firmed cases, which means 190,823 peo­ple have con­tracted the dis­ease.

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