Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia deploys mobile military hospitals to curb outbreak

Government initiative aims to lift the pressure of congested hospitals

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Saudi Arabia’s Defence Ministry is using mobile clinics to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Health authorities in the kingdom are keen to deter the public from risking their own safety and that of others by crowding hospitals to request Covid-19 tests.

The mobile units “are supplied with advanced medicine and machinery to support the health ministry’s preventative coronavirus measures,” state news agency Saudi Press Agency said in a statement.

They will be used to detect early signs of the virus and revise cases before patients are referred to the main hospitals, SPA said.

Saudis took to social media to praise the government’s efforts.

“Mobile field hospitals are now in the vicinity of public and military hospitals, they are ready for any emergency and to tackle the cause and development of the virus God Bless the kingdom,” Motaeb bin Roog, from Riyadh, said on Twitter.

The establishment of these mobile military hospitals is necessary for the welfare of the country’s health system, tweeted Khalid Al Otaibi, a doctor at King Fahd University Hospital.

“If the number of causes continues to increase at this pace then the numbers will exceed the capacity of hospitals, and it is imperative to have these mobile hospitals,” he said.

“It’s important to self-isolate and stay at home. Please help your country.”

Saudi Arabia has the most coronavirus cases in the GCC, at more than 1,700.

On Sunday, there were 511 known Covid-19 cases, 119 of which were newly identified.

The ministry said more than 23,000 people had been tested for the coronavirus and that 17 patients had been discharged from hospital after recovering.

Government work and most in the private sector has been suspended, and flights into the country have ceased.