Health minister outlines two-pronged strategy to deal with coronavirus

By Saudi Gazette | 25 May 2020  

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has developed a two-pronged strategy for the next stage in its efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said on Monday.

The strategy will focus on enhancing the capacity of hospitals to serve critical cases and intensifying mass testing for an early access to infected cases, Al-Rabiah said.

“As we move from one stage to another based on a careful health assessment, it gives us space to revise the strategy and review the course whenever the need arises,” the minister said.

He said that the Kingdom would enter a new stage starting from next Thursday focusing on the aspect of social distancing and would gradually ease measures until the return of normal life.

“Returning to normal conditions requires a high degree of responsibility and attention on part of all us and the need to follow health guidelines,” Al-Rabiah added.

Speaking during a press conference, the health minister lauded the great support extended by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, to the health sector, saying that all the investment made in this sector boosted its combat capability and readiness to the highest level.

Al-Rabiah added that the early implementation of precautionary measures provided us an opportunity to control the pace of coronavirus' spread and promote the culture and awareness in the society. It also enabled us to maintain the health system and double the number of laboratories, intensive care units and ventilators.

Lavishing praise on health experts in the Kingdom, Al-Rabiah said: “We are proud of the Saudi experts in this field who are internationally recognized, and we rely on their experiences in dealing with the virus."

Al-Rabiah also commended the role of citizens and residents, saying: “People have shown a tremendous sense of responsibility in practicing social distancing”.

Saudi Arabia's early preparations and the commitment of the public and their adherence to the precautionary and preventive measures had a major impact in reducing mortality rates which are among the lowest rates in the world, according to the health minister.

“With our commitment together we will reach safety, from my heart, may God protect all.” the minister said in his concluding remarks.