As many countries around the world are witnessing a new surge in Covid-19 infections, questions are being raised on whether Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are about to witness a second wave of the disease, especially after the reopening of borders and the resumption of commercial activities.
Today, statistics in Saudi Arabia show the lowest levels of infections in months, specifically since the first weeks of the outbreak in the Kingdom, in early April. As the numbers began declining in July, Saudi authorities started to ease restrictions on some activities, open borders for exceptional cases and allow the performance of Umrah under strict health measures.
On the other hand, many activities are still suspended, with some sectors operating remotely, including educational institutions, private companies and some government agencies.
Dr. Sami Al-Yami, an assistant professor of internal medicine, chest and pulmonary fibrosis, says that it was previously expected that the numbers of cases would decrease, but that the outbreak of the epidemic was still feared with the end of autumn and the beginning of winter, which is the season for the spread of respiratory viruses and their fast transmission.
Al-Yami pointed to the need to prepare for a second wave that may occur during winter, which coincides with the opening of international flights and the return to schools, which may exacerbate the situation.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, he warned that the return to schools should not take place before the end of winter, stressing the importance of committing to preventive measures.
Al-Yami revealed that the Ministry of Health and the King Abdullah International Research Center were preparing to conduct advanced research on vaccines that have proven successful in the initial tests, expecting the beginning of the vaccine trial on a large segment of society within the next two months.