In saudi Arabia, the “sad record” of the coronavirus

Until the lifting of the containment measures, in late may, the saudi ministry of health has it proudly displayed its balance sheet daily, much better than the enemy of iran. “The number of cures far exceeds that of new cases “, commended the authorities on their Twitter account in French.

→ TO READ. The muslim world at the pace of the coronavirus

Since then, between two videos on the precautions surrounding the reopening of the mosques, messages of caution are more insistent. Friday 4 June, the minister of religious affairs has called on the imams “to dedicate their preaching to the precautionary measures taken by the kingdom to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 “.

“Cases in the icu and in critical condition “

The kingdom started to count the “cases in the resuscitation and state critical “ (1 686 9 June) and the battle of “sad records “. Monday 15 June, he has crossed the symbolic threshold of 1,000 deaths. The country has now 136 000 patients Covid-19. For the past several days, more than 4 000 new cases are registered daily.

While he was noted for measures that are as stringent as that early at the beginning of the pandemic, even before the registration of a first case on march 2, the kingdom wahhabi is now caught up by the crisis, to the point of worrying the world health Organization.

“There is a true second wave in countries such as Israel, Djibouti, Iran, and saudi Arabia “recognizes Antoine Flahault, director of the global health Institute at the University of Geneva. “In saudi Arabia, it is not known why there is such a resurgence, perhaps because of the large gatherings of Eid. What is particularly disturbing, is that the second wave is more important than the first “.

In a video message and a press release, the minister of health was intended to be reassuring, explaining the high figures by “the increase in the number of tests “ and claiming that the country had the ability to heal his patients.

Situation is tense in Jeddah

The situation seems particularly tense in Jeddah, a coastal city in the west, close to Mecca, and that the hospitals are full, to such a point that the city was again closed in early June : curfew from 15 hours to 6 hours in the morning, the suspension of the prayers in the mosques and in order to stay at home for the employees of the public and private sectors.

Several Internet sites announce the death of a nephew of king Salman, also governor of Riyadh, hospitalized in early April in the intensive care unit because of Covid-19. They also say that the old king, like his son, the crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, hide in their palaces to avoid contagion.

“None of this has been confirmed by the authoritiesgrade a good connoisseur of the country. But the ministry of health has recognized that if, at the outset, 70 % of people infected were foreign workers, now the ratio has reversed and the majority of the patients is made up of Saudis. Many people think that the containment has produced the opposite effect, by enclosing the migrant workers in substandard conditions “.

From South-East Asia or arab countries poor and representing about a third of the population of the kingdom, they were gradually resettled, or repatriated.

Disinfection and mobile application

The saudi arabian media insist, themselves, on the measures taken. “The municipalities in saudi arabia are intensifying their fight against the virus.”, reports and the website Arab News, describing the efforts of Jeddah for “disinfect “ up to green space, as well as inspections conducted by the city of Najran in the slaughterhouses.

The day before, this is the new mobile app touted by the ministry of health which has had its favors : called Tabaoud (distance), it works on the same principle as its counterpart in French-Stop-Covid, and allows the Saudis to know if they have cross-contaminated people.

Far from marking time, the pandemic up the saudi arabian authorities in front of a cornelian choice : the king, who bears the prestigious name of “guardian of the holy places “ of Medina and Mecca, should he cancel the hajj ? Planned for the end of July, this pilgrimage made each year by 2.5 million faithful all over the world is one of the five pillars of islam, the culmination of a lifetime for many muslims, and also the second largest source of income for the kingdom.


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