Saudi Arabia confirms first case of coronavirus

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Saudi Arabia has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus Covid-19, the ministry of Health announced on Monday.

Laboratory results confirmed that a Saudi citizen, who came from Iran via Bahrain, tested positive for the virus, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The ministry said that the citizen did not disclose his visit to Iran at the Saudi port.

“Within the framework of the ongoing precautionary measures, the ministry sent an infection control team immediately to examine the citizen, and to take a sample for a laboratory examination. The sample confirmed that he was infected with the virus,” the ministry said.

The infected patient is currently isolated in the hospital, and the case is being dealt with in line with the required health procedures, the report said.

“The people in contact with the infected person were identified, and samples were taken from them for examination by the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control,” the ministry disclosed, adding that all results will be announced upon a completion of the examination.

The Saudi health ministry had previously said that the kingdom has 2,200 hospital beds prepared for quarantine cases.

The ministry also urged the public to contact the official authority for any clarification about the virus, stressing that information must be taken from official sources.

As a precautionary measure, Saudi Arabia had announced last week that it was suspending all Umrah visas due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The kingdom also temporarily suspended the entry of GCC citizens to Makkah and Madinah. However, those GCC citizens who have been in the country for 14 consecutive days and have not shown symptoms of coronavirus are exempt from the ban.

Saudi also announced that all GCC nationals travelling to/from Saudi Arabia would be required to use their passports – rather than IDs – for travel (except for those who are outside the kingdom and wish to return to it).

Globally, the coronavirus has spread to over 70 countries, with all the GCC states now reporting confirmed cases.