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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will begin to ease its COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday.
Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the easing will be done in phases and will depend on reports on the spread of the virus.
The first phase will begin with expanding capacity to serve "critical patients" and the second phase will include intensifying COVID-19 tests and early detection .
Speaking in a press conference on Monday, the Health Minister said the people of the Kingdom had shown a “high amount of responsibility in practicing social distancing.”
"After five months since this pandemic have started, where the global health systems faced great difficulties in dealing with it, the society has become today more aware of this virus and implementing the measures of the social distancing, as it is a new experience for all of us," he said in remarks quoted by the Saudi Press Agency.
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Rabiah said imposing the precautionary measures during an early phase of the pandemic had put the Kingdom in more control of the virus spread.
"We are proud of the Saudi experts in this field who are internationally recognized, and we rely on their experiences in dealing with that virus," he added.
The minister said that people should continue taking precautionary measures while leaving their homes by using facemasks and hand gloves.
The Health Ministry recorded nine new fatalities and 2,235 new cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom on Monday. The new deaths have increased the virus-related toll in Saudi Arabia to 399 and the total number of confirmed cases to 74,795.
It also said the number of recoveries has risen to 2,148, raising the total number of recovered cases 45,668.
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