Herd immunity not on table: MoH spokesman

April 07, 2020

Saudi Gazette report

Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdel Ali, spokesman of the Ministry of Health, said that the adoption of the “herd immunity” strategy in dealing with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is not on the table.

Attending a TV program titled “In the picture” aired on the satellite channel “Rotana Gulf”, he said that this is the reason why the Kingdom enforced a total curfew in most of the cities across the Kingdom.

Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through previous infections or vaccination, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune.

Abdel Ali said Saudi Arabia does not want to go into such options. He emphasized that the complete curfew is aimed at reducing the spread of the epidemic. “There are still crowds and disturbing gatherings.

The decision to enforce total curfew in nine major Saudi cities, including the capital city of Riyadh, was taken after following the nature of the traffic that exceeded 50 percent, as a result of not adhering to the instructions issued not to go out except in cases of extreme necessity,” he said.

The spokesman said that implementation of early precautionary measures has contributed significantly in delaying the registration of coronavirus cases in the Kingdom. “At the global level, corona cases started recording in the beginning of January. However, the first case in the Kingdom was recorded on March 2,” he pointed out.

According to Abdel Ali, one case of corona may transmit infection to thousands of people, and raise the indicators in the dangerous curve! “We are at risk of transmission to the acute phase in the spread of the virus, unless we tighten control with strong preemptive steps.”

On the expected scenarios of the epidemic situation in Saudi Arabia, the spokesman said: “If people fail to hold fast to the instructions over the coming months, hundreds of thousands will be vulnerable to infection, and the health system will collapse as we have seen in major countries and this is not an imaginary scenario.” He called on citizens to adhere to the procedures and advisories announced by the authorities in this regard.

Abdel Ali said that the Kingdom has not yet reached either the peak stage of the disease or the stage of controlling of its spread, because this is related to the extent of the presence of a vaccine or drug that can stem the spread of the coronavirus, in addition to steps that may break the cycle of its spread.

April 07, 2020
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