JEDDAH: Some COVID-19 mutations have become more dangerous for young people aged between 12 and 18, according to the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health, which advised them to get vaccinated.
It said the vaccines had proved to be safe and effective for this age group.
The advice came as Saudi Arabia on Thursday reported 13 more coronavirus-related deaths, taking the death toll to 7,832.
There were 1,534 new infections reported, bringing the overall total to 489,126, and 12,174 cases remaining active. There are 1,389 patients in critical condition.
Of the newly reported cases, 377 were in Makkah, 337 were in the Eastern Province, 310 were in Riyadh, and 74 were in Madinah.
The ministry said 1,487 patients had recovered from coronavirus, increasing this total to 469,120.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 22 million PCR tests, with 106,572 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for people who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with someone who is infected.
Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with coronavirus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.
Saudi Arabia has so far vaccinated 17,955,015 people, including 1,352,555 who are elderly.
Police took 91 people into custody in the Makkah region on Thursday for violating quarantine measures.
The country is imposing severe penalties on people who flout regulations enforced to prevent the spread of the virus. Legal measures have been taken against those arrested and they will be referred to the Public Prosecution.
People who break the rules are either fined up to SR200,000 ($53,330), face up to two years in prison, or get hit with both penalties.
The penalties are doubled for those who violate the regulations a second time. Non-Saudis who commit such breaches face deportation and a permanent ban from entering the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah was sorting out people who qualified for this year’s pilgrimage and was texting those who met all the health standards, conditions and controls.
Hesham Abdulmonem Saeed, the assistant deputy minister for Hajj and Umrah services, told the Saudi Press Agency that 558,000 people had registered for this year’s pilgrimage. Of these applicants, 51 percent were male.
Request processing took place within 10 working days through the Hajj and Umrah Data Center.
Saeed said the ministry had worked for years on digitizing the registration process for Hajj and Umrah, and that it was qualifying pilgrims based on a number of standards approved by the Ministry of Health.
He called on pilgrims to adhere to all the health requirements and precautions in order to preserve their safety and that of others.