JEDDAH — The countdown to updating the immunization status has begun in Saudi Arabia. Starting Feb. 1, the “Immune” vaccinated status will expire in the Tawakkalna application for anyone who is aged 18 and above and has passed eight months after taking the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine but has not received the booster dose.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has confirmed that the immunization status will not change if the period is less than 8 months, stressing the need to obtain the third booster dose to enter facilities, public places, entertainment venues, airplanes and public transportation. Groups already excluded from the vaccine requirement will be exempt from the new conditions as well.

After a two-year hiatus, Saudi schools witnessed a large attendance on the first school day this week at all levels of education including kindergartens and primary classes in government, private, foreign and international schools across the regions and governorates of the Kingdom. The authorities were committed to implementing all preventive measures and approved health protocols that guarantee the safety for all to ensure a healthy learning environment.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) allocated the first period at the beginning of the school day to educate students about the importance of applying precautionary measures and to generate awareness of the importance of benefiting from all educational channels and means made available by the Ministry. At the same time, the ministry continues to activate the mechanisms of distance education and e-learning, through Madrasati (My School) and Rawdati (My Kindergarten) platforms and the IEN Lessons channels.

Assistant Minister of Health Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali, who is also the official spokesman for the ministry, explained that the epidemiological curve records a decrease in the number of infections. As expected, this period will be followed by stability in the number of cases thanks to strict adherence to the required precautions and the vaccination programs, while critical cases have become much less than they were in earlier stages, apparently due to the efficacy of vaccines.

Regarding questions about the appropriate time to do a COVID-19 test, Dr. Al-Abdulaali stated that the immunized people who were in contact with infected patients and who showed symptoms of an illness should do a home examination or go to a laboratory. As for those without symptoms, there is no need for a test.

Despite the laboratory examination, home test or calling 937 to be sure, unvaccinated people who were in contact with people having symptoms and health problems must remain in quarantine for a period of four days and conduct a laboratory test on the fifth day.

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