Copy of 2020-03-09T161220Z_587818860_RC2GGF91D24L_RTRMADP_3_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-SAUDI-QATIF-1583843617117
A man wearing a protective face mask sells vegetables at a market, after Saudi Arabia imposed a temporary lockdown on the province of Qatif following the spread of coronavirus, in Qatif on March 9. Image Credit: REUTERS

Dubai: Five new cases of coronavirus were detected in Saudi Arabia, bringing the total number of cases to 20, the country’s Ministry of Health reported, according to Al Arabiya.

The ministry stated that four citizens were diagnosed with the disease, three of whom had arrived from Iran and Iraq and put in quarantine on their return. Laboratory tests showed they were carrying the new coronavirus and were then transferred to a quarantine ward in a hospital in the Eastern Province.

The fourth case was of a citizen with mild respiratory symptoms who checked himself in to a hospital in the Eastern Province and was placed in quarantine. Those in contact with him were also quarantined, and necessary preventive measures were taken.

The fifth case was of an Egyptian man who arrived from Egypt to the kingdom, the ministry added. He was quarantined in a hospital in Mecca. The Ministry assured everyone that it was providing health care in accordance with the approved procedures.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Cabinet said that more than half a million passengers had been screened, out of whom 2,032 were asked to self-isolate while 468 people were quarantined.

As the majority of cases are either people who had travelled to Iran or been in contact with people who were there, the Saudi council of ministers condemned Iran’s behaviour when it comes to facilitating the movement of passengers infected with coronavirus to the kingdom, saying that it undermines international efforts being made to contain the virus.

As for the temporary measures taken in Al Qatif, the Cabinet stressed that the government’s actions were aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia has imposed a quarantine on Qatif, in the Eastern Province, as part of precautionary measures.