cases worldwide, the official Saudi Press Agency

A source in Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior on Wednesday said the Kingdom will reinforce wearing masks in public places including outdoor events as of Thursday amid a rise in COVID-19 cases worldwide, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

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SPA said the new rule will come into effect from 7:00 a.m. on December 30, 2021.

The risk posed by the rapidly-spreading omicron variant of COVID-19 is still “very high”, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

“The overall risk related to the new variant of concern omicron remains very high. Consistent evidence shows that the omicron variant has a growth advantage over the Delta variant with a doubling time of two to three days and rapid increases in the incidence of cases is seen in a number of countries,” the WHO said in its COVID-19 weekly epidemiological update.

The Kingdom reported 602 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 553,921. The country reported one new death.

There are 39 critical COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Health said.

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