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A picture taken on April 2 shows the deserted old town of Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Saudi Arabia announced 17 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday night, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 2,402.

The kingdom had earlier in the day reported 206 new cases of the novel coronavirus.

Five more deaths were also reported in the kingdom, bringing the death toll to 34, Dr. Mohammed Abdulali, Health Ministry’s spokesperson, said during a press conference. The kingdom has confirmed that the total number of recoveries now is 488.

“Fifty three per cent of COVID-19 sufferers are non-Saudis, and most new diagnosed cases are linked to those who fail to abide by precautionary measures [like] staying home and [abiding by] the curfew policy as well as those who are still in contact with infected people,” Dr. Abdulali said.

He noted that the number of COVID-19 infected cases was on the rise, but it was still within safe limits when compared to other countries.

“We hold daily meetings to get updates on the coronavirus situation and the newly confirmed cases in the country, where a 24-hour operations room is equipped with more than 1,00 staff who receive emergency calls,” the Health Ministry’s spokesperson said.

The ministry is coordinating the state public security concerning movement requests by citizens and expatriate residents, he added. The spokesperson said the ministry’s efforts in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic came to fruition after the number of recoveries jumped to 488 on Sunday.

“The rise in the number of recoveries reflects the success of anti-coronavirus plans by the COVID-19 control committees in all the kingdom’s regions,” he said.

Dr. Abdulali stressed that most cases are stable receiving treatment and the necessary healthcare, while a few cases are critical and are under intensive care.

The new infections have been detected after screening those who were in contact with previously announced cases. The spokesperson highlighted the need to avoid social gatherings and crowded places, urging the public to abide by the stay-home instructions as a preventive measure to ensure everyone’s safety.

Meanwhile, Saudi authorities imposed a 24-hour curfew in seven neighbourhoods in Jeddah on Saturday. Three days earlier, authorities extended curfew in Mecca and Medina to 24 hours.

On Friday, the authorities brought forward curfew in Dammam, Taif, Al Qatif to start at 3pm, while on Thursday, the kingdom imposed a 24-hour curfew in the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina until further notice to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.