Saudi Arabia Eases COVID-19 Restrictions Despite Rise in Cases
Saudi Arabia announced Monday the easing of restrictions and lifting of precautionary measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. The Saudi Interior Ministry said the decision was based on its follow-up of the epidemiological situation, health recommendations, and the success of the country’s vaccination program.
Wearing masks is no longer required in closed places, except in the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina. Immunization and health verification are no longer required for entering facilities, attending activities, boarding planes, or using public transportation. Citizens who wish to travel abroad can get their third booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine eight days after receiving the second dose. Previously, they had to wait three months between doses, the ministry noted.
As of June 1, 70.63% of Saudi residents were considered fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of May 2022. The seven-day rolling average of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in Saudi Arabia currently stands at 27.14. The world average is 62.4, more than double the Saudi statistic.
The kingdom’s seven-day rolling average of daily new deaths from COVID-19 per million people is 0.07; the figure for the world is 0.19 – almost three times as high.
The kingdom’s current R-value, measuring the average number of new infections caused by a single infected individual, is 1.26 – somewhat higher than the worldwide R-value of 1.01.