JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 are rapidly increasing due to the omicron variant, with cases having more than doubled since the beginning of the year.

In a press conference on Sunday, Saudi Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said the country was currently going through a critical phase in tackling the spread of COVID-19.

He stressed the importance of people receiving the necessary vaccine doses and booster shots.

He also urged people to follow preventative measures such as wearing face masks, washing their hands, and maintaining social distance during the critical phase, with the ministry saying: “Our immunization is our life.”

Saudi Arabia confirmed 5,477 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and one new death.

Al-Abd Al-Aly said although Saudi Arabia was witnessing a jump in confirmed infections, the number of critical cases was lower compared to the previous year’s and that this was a result of the vaccine’s effectiveness and national efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have helped millions of people since the pandemic outbreak.

Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual.

Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever and breathing difficulties.

The ministry also announced on Sunday that it had begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine to children aged between five and 11.

Health officials began administering the COVID-19 jab late last year after the Saudi Food and Drug Authority approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for this age group. Priority was given to those considered vulnerable and at high risk from the virus.

The ministry, which has 587 vaccine centers throughout the Kingdom, urged people who had not yet received a jab to register to receive one through its Sehhaty app.

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