Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia nears 120,000 confirmed cases

Religious authorities bring forward opening times of mosques for Friday prayers

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of Kaaba at the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 12, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo
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The number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia approached 120,000 on Friday following a rise in new infections over the last week.

The Saudi Ministry of Health reported 3,901 new cases during the last 24 hours, taking the total to 119,942, with 893 deaths.

Most of the new cases are in Riyadh, with 1,584 reported there, followed by 391 in Jeddah and 197 in Makkah.

The number of daily cases has exceeded 3,000 for the last week.

Saudi Arabia, which has a population of 30 million, has taken strict measures to contain the spreading of the contagious disease since its first recorded case in early March.

Health officials warned in April that the number of infected cases could reach between 10,000 and 200,000 people in the country.

The kingdom exceeded 50,000 cases on May 16.

It comes as the religious authorities brought forward the re-opening of mosques from Friday around the country expect for the cities of Makkah and Jeddah.

Mosques will open 40 minutes before the call for Friday prayers in efforts to prevent overcrowding, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs said in a statement.

Since late May, nearly 90,000 mosques in Saudi Arabia have reopened, with government officials arranging for prayer rugs, washrooms and shelves to be sanitised before use.

Other countries in the Gulf also recorded a high number of infected cases.

Kuwait reported 520 new cases and six more coronavirus related deaths on Friday.

Health authorities said the total number of infected individuals in the country is 34,952 and the death toll is 285.

The health ministry announced the recovery of 911 patients during the last 24 hours, raising the total recoveries to 25,048 since the outbreak began earlier this year.

Qatar's ministry of health recorded one Covid-19 death and 1,517 new cases in the past 24 hours.

The death toll now stands at 70.

Health officials also announced 1,965 new recoveries in the country.

Some 76,588 people have been infected and the country has highest per capita caseload in the world with 27,277 infections per one million people.

Bahrain's recorded two new coronavirus deaths, raising the total number of fatalities to 36.

The health ministry announced 600 new infected cases and 414 recoveries during the last 24 hours.

"There are currently 137 cases receiving treatment, of which 10 are in a critical condition," the ministry tweeted.

Oman, which has the lowest number of infected cases, recorded seven new deaths.

The new deaths raised Oman's total to 96 as health officials registered an additional 1,117 new cases.

The health ministry also reported 866 recoveries in the country, bringing that total to 7,489.

Coronavirus in the Middle East