RIYADH: The International Cybersecurity Forum 2022, which was set to open in Riyadh on Feb. 1 under the patronage of King Salman, has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns.

The National Cybersecurity Authority said it took the decision to reschedule the two-day event to protect its speakers and participants, and as part of the global effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. The revised dates would be announced later, it said.

COVID-19 cases have been soaring around the world. Saudi Arabia on Jan. 12 recorded 5,362 infections for the previous 24 hours — its highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic — taking its total number of confirmed cases to 593,545, the Ministry of Health said.

The previous daily record was 4,919 cases, recorded in June 2020.

The ministry also reported two deaths on Jan. 12, taking the number of fatalities in the Kingdom to 8,899, and 2,499 recoveries, taking that tally to 552,057. The number of critical cases was 218, it said.

Over 52.9 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have so far been administered in the Kingdom, which recently updated its control measures to include fines of SR1,000 ($266) for those who break social distancing rules and SR100,000 for repeat offenders.

Other measures include the mandatory wearing of masks in all public places, while social distancing measures have been reintroduced at the Two Holy Mosques.

Many countries have registered record rates of coronavirus infections as the omicron variant takes hold across the world. France, the UK, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Malta, the US, Bolivia and Australia have all reported surges in case numbers in recent days.

The World Health Organization said the omicron variant posed a “very high” risk and could overwhelm healthcare systems.

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