General view shows the empty garden of the King Fahd Library, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 19, 2020.
General view shows the empty garden of the King Fahd Library, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 19, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Saudi Arabia said that it would take four months to a year to contain the coronavirus disease while announcing that it expects the total number of cases to reach 200,000 if measures to counter the disease are not followed. The announcement was made by Saudi Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah during a press conference. This came as the country reported 272 new cases of the coronavirus, COVID-19, on Tuesday, and three new deaths. This brings the total number of cases in the country to 2,795.

It was also announced that three more people had died due to the virus. from the novel Coronavirus as the total number of confirmed cases in the kingdom rose to 2795, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday.

The death toll has climbed to 41 more deaths, while the total number of recovered patients is 615, Al Rabiah, said during the press conference.

He noted said that kingdom needs four months to one year to contain the spread of coronavirus. Some people have failed to deal with the coronavirus outbreak seriously, thus they failed to abide by the ban of social gatherings and avoiding physical distancing.

He said people’s non-compliance with precautionary measures is the mean reason behind the rise in COVID-19 infections. “The rise in Coronavirus infection may reach a level that may overpass the capacity of the kingdom’s health sector,” Al Rabia warned.

The kingdom has approved the allocation of additional amount of SR7 billion to combat the pandemic, he said, adding that the government has spared no effort to meet the budgets allotted to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it continues to receive requests from Saudi citizens stranded abroad who want to return home. The priority is given to the old people, urgent cases and pregnant women.

The returnees will be placed under two-week quarantine.

The Food and Drug Authority confirmed that it had suspended export of medical equipment and devices since the outbreak of the coronavirus pathogen.

Local factories are making millions of facemasks weekly, while factories producing sanitisation products have been increased to 31 across the kingdom.

People can apply to acquire facemasks via “Tammany” app available on the ministry’s online site

On Monday, security authorities imposed a 24-hour lockdown in major cities, including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Dhahran, Tabuk, Al Hofuf, Taif, Al Qatif and Khobar.

The two holy cities of Mecca and Medina are already under complete lockdown since Thursday. The authorities also ordered that non-essential businesses and non-vital sectors be closed until further notice in their effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The total number of fatalities caused by the virus stands at 41.