RIYADH — Dr. Abdullah Asiri, assistant deputy minister of health for preventive health, said that the ministry has mobilized a total of 100 hospitals and healthcare centers to monitor respiratory infections. He said that this is part of the mechanism that Saudi Arabia has adopted to monitor the types of respiratory infections and their causes.

Dr. Asiri, who is also infectious diseases consultant at the ministry, said that Saudi Arabia has arranged a network of monitoring centers, including 30 hospitals and 70 primary healthcare centers, which are distributed geographically and demographically. These medical monitoring centers will collect data on respiratory infections, especially serious cases, and respiratory samples (swabs) will be examined at two levels.

He said that the first level of sample examination takes place at the monitoring center, and that includes influenza, coronavirus, and the respiratory syncytial virus, while the second level takes place at the Public Health Authority (Weqaya) laboratory and that includes the rest of the germs, with sub classification of influenza and genetic sequencing of coronavirus.

Dr. Asiri warned against a possible return of respiratory infections and their causes to the levels before the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic due to the negligence in taking preventive precautionary measures. He stressed that the viruses and bacteria currently spreading are of the usual types, and there is currently no indication of spreading of any new epidemics.

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