Coronavirus: official death toll in Saudi Arabia exceeds 1,000

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The number of people confirmed as having died from the novel coronavirus in Saudi Arabia breached the 1,000 mark this week, as the government warned of mass dismissal of social distancing rules.

The health ministry announced on Monday 39 fatalities, bringing the total to 1,011, as well as a new record of 4,507 daily cases.

Ministry spokesman Mohammad Al Abdel Aali said the spike was “due to a number of factors, most important of which is not taking the necessary precautions.”

“The active spread of the virus is due to social mixing,” he said.

He said the growth rate of the infection has declined but could resume climbing “if society continues not to adhere to and abide by” social distancing and other containment measures.

The latest toll brings total number of people infected in Saudi Arabia to 132,048, among them 1,897 in critical condition, and 87,890 registered as having recovered.

The Health Ministry has been expanding a social media campaign to promote social distancing as a kingdom-wide curfew is due to be lifted on June 21.

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Palestinian elderly men walk on a street in Al Shatea refugee camp, amid the ongoing =pandemic in Gaza City. EPA

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas calls on people to wear protective masks as he walks in a street in the West Bank city of Ramallah. AFP

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Medical workers in protective gear leave from an apartment with samples during a testing programme at a home in Ankara, Turkey. EPA

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Algerian taxi drivers take part in a demonstration in front of the National Union of Road Transport Operators offices at the Kharouba station in the capital Algiers, to protest compulsory measures to ease the lockdown imposed by the government and the resignation of their representatives in the union. AFP

The government, which vowed to restore normal economic activity after an extended lockdown, has cautioned against relying on unofficial data that could give a misleading picture of the coronavirus situation in the country.

The authorities last month allowed offices and business to reopen and prayers at mosques to resume, although 71 mosques were later closed after infections were detected in them.

Updated: June 16, 2020 11:21 AM

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