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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

​​MOH has been making tremendous efforts to address the crisis of the novel Coronavirus, since cases were announced in (Wuhan), China. MOH praises the wise leadership’s early comprehension of the danger of this virus, and the challenges it posed. Integrated effort by all sectors of the Kingdom and members of society, including citizens and residents; was required to fight this pandemic.​

Some of the most prominent factors that helped contain the spread of the virus were the Ministry's early preparedness, speed of response, and transparency. Other factors included the strength of the Kingdom's health system, the efficiency of the health sector's staff, and having the support and equipment needed, which has reduced the effects of the pandemic. The infection rate in the Kingdom has reached 9 injuries per 1,000 people. Additionally, conducting examinations has expanded, as the rate reached 13,000 examinations per 100,000 people. The fatality rate among positive cases reached 1%, compared to the global average of 3.47% at the end of 2020.

The response of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has begun early, in two phases. The first, according to the Royal Decree issued on 6/1/1441 AH, ordered the formation of the Supreme Committee which would handle taking all necessary precautions and measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic. It included 6 participating entities. Based on the assessment of the global situation data, the response was escalated to a higher stage, according to the Royal Decree on 7/6/1441 AH, which ordered the formation of a committee concerned with taking all necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The committee was headed by the Minister of Health, and its members included all participating agencies. 

MOH has worked on the planning, coordination and monitoring, at a national level. It has maintained proper communication during the pandemic, and ensured community involvement, epidemiological surveillance, and activation of rapid response teams. Furthermore, it monitored ports, international travel and transportation, and operating laboratories at their maximum capacity, especially the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control​ and regional laboratories in regions. It has also supported Infection Prevention and Control teams, as well as case management and treatment. Moreover, MOH has provided operational and logistical support and ensured that basic health services continued to be provided.

The Ministry has mobilized its energy for these aspects. This included activating the (Jeddah) and (Salem COVID-19) tools.​ They are scientific risk measurement tools created by the Global Centre for Mass Gatherings Medicine in the Ministry, in accordance with scientific methods. Furthermore, it created ‘Taqassy’ surveillance program to follow up on suspected and confirmed cases on a daily basis in quarantines and home isolation. The concerned committee has enacted preventive and precautionary measures, such as: stopping all gatherings, emphasizing the principle of: ‘We are All Responsible’, suspending Umrah, reducing the number of pilgrims, and prohibiting travel, in addition to imposing home quarantine, activating command and control centers as well as various committees and platforms in all regions. It has also held daily meetings for all committees and platforms, such as: Infection Control in Health Facilities, Health Electronic Surveillance Network (HESN), Mass Gathering Medicine Center, National Health Emergency Operations Center’, (Unified Call Center 937), Infectious Diseases, Primary Health Care and e-Health, ‘Weqaya’ Center, Mystery Visitor, and Quarantines. The Command and Control Center (CCC) has issued relevant tasks for each platform and monitored its performance through daily indicators. Additionally, the National Health Emergency Operations Center has issued periodic reports and alerts, and monitored the performance of hospitals.

MOH has devoted its system to managing and treating COVID-19 cases. Coordination has taken place with the concerned authorities by the concerned committee to implement all tasks and measures. The aim was to manage and treat positive or suspected COVID-19 cases. Coordination involved:  government and private hospitals responding to the situation, with a plan that was developed to increase their capacity. Primary health care centers were also responsive. Moreover, quarantine procedures were made. Optimal use was made of special health facilities at that time. 

MOH has maintained open communication during the pandemic. This happened by engaging the community through joint daily press conferences; to highlight the most prominent developments. It has also activated its website to help prevent the virus. Moreover, it developed the (937) hotline with the aim of responding to inquiries, giving necessary directions, and providing medical and psychological consultations around the clock. Furthermore, MOH has launched additional channels to reach the community, using an interactive chatbot via the number 920005937; to provide advice and information. Moreover, it activated ‘Eshara’ application to reach the deaf and mute segment of the society. Additionally, it has summarized scientific materials in languages that are common among residents to spread messages in a timely manner. It has developed applications like: Tetamman, and Sehhaty’​ to assess suspected cases and follow up on confirmed cases. Other applications that the Ministry gave attention to included: Seha, Tabaud, Tawakkalna, and Ta’akad.  It has also activated the role of virtual clinics, telemedicine, remote consultations, teleradiology platforms, and medical robots to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, MOH has worked on issuing guidelines and protocols for doctors on the virus. It has also issued guides for all segments of society, in addition to an interactive map. It broadcast statistics around the clock, and explored community interactions with the pandemic. It has also conducted public opinion surveys using questionnaires. MOH has also established the Health Martyrs Unit to commemorate and show gratitude to the sacrifices and generosity of the health sector’s martyrs who have dedicated themselves to performing their jobs and gave their souls away with the noble goal of preserving the safety and health of citizens and residents.

Noteworthy, Saudi Arabia, represented by MOH, was at the forefront of countries that provided the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ministry has confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, as it has successfully passed all test stages. The tests have shown a strong immune reaction and a continuous presence of antibodies. The vaccine is provided, free of charge, to all citizens and residents, in implementation of the directives of the wise leadership, which has urged everyone to book an appointment to receive the vaccine. Booking an appointment can be done using ‘Sehhaty’ Platform.

Proceeding from its keenness to facilitate the access of all citizens and residents to the healthcare services, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has merged its apps in the unified app “Sehhaty". The incorporated apps include “Sehha", “Tetamman" and “Mawid".   

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Last Update : 26 October 2023 11:30 AM
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