RIYADH — The rise in cases of COVID-19 infections that Saudi Arabia is witnessing currently is due to society's lax adherence to health measures, Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Hani Jokhdar confirmed.

Dr. Jokhdar made remarks during an interview with Al-Ekhbariya news channel. He said initially Saudi society was very committed to observing the precautionary health measures, but some people thought that with the recurrence of infections the symptoms had become simple and the disease became less grave, which resulted in a decline in compliance.

No new mutant appeared after Omicron, Dr. Jokhdar confirmed, but he said it was the sequences within Omicron that caused the increase in the rate of infections globally and in the Kingdom.

The rise in infections has not and will not affect the health sector due to the high immunity in society because of vaccination campaigns carried out by the Kingdom's government, Dr. Jokhdar said.

He emphasized that more than 80% of the population of Saudi Arabia have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Also 80% of the eligible people have received the booster dose from the target groups aged over 12 years, which is a very high rate.

The health situation in Saudi Arabia is reassuring, Dr. Jokhdar said, while calling on everyone to complete their vaccination schedule and also to take the booster dose because of its extreme importance.

Dr. Jokhdar indicated that most of the patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) are those who did not complete their vaccination schedule — who took only one dose of the vaccine or those who did not receive the vaccination at all.

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