Weqaya Chief: no cases of Omicron reported in Saudi Arabia 

November 28, 2021

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH - No cases of Omicron, the mutated variant of coronavirus, have been detected in Saudi Arabia so far, according to Dr. Abdullah Al-Quwazani, CEO of the Public Health Authority (Weqaya). The mutant Omicron is a variant of concern as designated by the World Health Organization (WHO), he said while addressing the daily press conference to brief on the latest coronavirus developments here on Sunday.

Dr. Al-Quwazani confirmed that genetic mutations happen to viruses and that leads to the emergence of new potentially more contagious variants. He pointed out that the WHO has classified mutants into various categories, including Variants of Interest (VOI) and Variants of Concern (VOC) as some countries have detected the new variant as VOC.

On his part, the Ministry of Health Spokesman Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdel Ali attributed the increase in the coronavirus spread in some countries to the negligence in adhering to precautionary measures. He confirmed that the Kingdom is going through a safe phase and is witnessing a decrease in the number of cases, as new COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia continued to stay below the 30-mark on Sunday, with 24 new infections recorded over the past 24 hours.

He said that Saudi Arabia has administered more than 47 million doses of the vaccines till to date since the start of the vaccination drive in December last year. The spokesman noted the importance of taking the booster dose in enhancing immunity, as he denied what was being circulated about severe side effects of the booster dose.

Addressing the press conference, Ministry of Interior Spokesman Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub reiterated that all those who come from the countries which the ministry allowed the direct entry are required to spend five days in institutional quarantine, regardless of their immunization status outside the Kingdom.

He added that travelers from all countries are required to spend three days in institutional quarantine if they received one shot of coronavirus vaccine from within the Kingdom. Al-Shalhoub warned that people who violate institutional quarantine face a fine of up to SR200,000 and a jail term of up to two years or of both. The Ministry of Interior announced that a total of 871 violations of precautionary measures were detected in a week.

3-day institutional quarantine for Umrah pilgrims

Meanwhile, Hisham Saeed, spokesman of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, clarified that three-day institutional quarantine is required for Umrah pilgrims. The pilgrims have to undergo a PCR test 48 hours after the start of institutional quarantine, he said.

“The first condition for issuing Umrah visa and entering the Kingdom is to complete the vaccination doses against coronavirus. Foreign Umrah pilgrims who are vaccinated with any one of the approved vaccines in the Kingdom will be allowed to visit the Two Holy Mosques, and perform Umrah rituals and prayer at the Two Holy Mosques according to the permits that have been granted to them through the Etamarna application.

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