JEDDAH: Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah has urged people living in the Kingdom to be vaccinated against coronavirus as COVID-19 infections continue to rise, climbing above 1,000 new cases a day.
“More than 950 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered around the world, and the vaccine has demonstrated a high level of safety and efficacy,” Al-Rabiah said on Twitter.
“Advice from the heart, take the step and get the vaccine for your health and safety,” he added.
Al-Rabiah said that over 3 million people have died from COVID-19, and more than 100 million people suffer from the effects of the disease.
King Saud University professor of anesthesiology and intensive care Nasser Tawfiq blamed the recent spike in cases on violations of health protocols in the weeks before Ramadan as people were preparing for the holy month.
In an interview with Al-Ekhbariya channel, Tawfiq said that cases are now increasing weekly compared with last year when numbers rose day after day.
Breaking any numbers barrier will take longer, “and the best way to make a difference is with vaccines,” he said.
“We will be in a seriously critical state if numbers rise above 1,500,” warned Tawfiq.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry urged people to follow precautionary and preventive measures, including wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.
Forty-four percent of infections occur and become contagious before any symptoms appear, the ministry explained on Twitter. 
Saudi Arabia reported 11 more COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday. The death toll now stands at 6,869.
The Health Ministry reported 1,055 new cases, meaning that 409,093 people have now contracted the disease. There are 9,776 active cases, with 1,182 of these in critical condition.
According to the ministry, 468 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, 220 in Makkah, 157 in the Eastern Province and 45 in Madinah.
In addition, 824 patients have recovered from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 392,448.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 16,414,039 PCR tests, with 61,923 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Saudis and expats in the Kingdom continue to receive their jabs of the coronavirus vaccine, with 7,713,668 people having been inoculated so far.

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