Despite Ebola, 70,000 Nigerian Hajis coming

Updated 08 September 2014
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Despite Ebola, 70,000 Nigerian Hajis coming

Saudi Arabia has no plan to ban some 70,000 Nigerian pilgrims from performing Haj this year because of Ebola virus cases that have surfaced in the West African country, a senior Saudi health official said.
“We have not stopped issuing Haj visas to Nigerians and we know that about 70,000 pilgrims come from the African country every year,” said Mohammed Al-Khasheem, deputy health minister for planning and development. He said the department for preventive medicine at the ministry is in continuous contact with the WHO to stay up to date on the latest developments on the Ebola virus and other infectious diseases.
“The WHO knows the situation in Mina and Arafat during the Haj season and there is no need to worry about a few Ebola cases that have occurred in Nigeria,” he said.
Nigeria, which has reported 13 confirmed cases, with five deaths and four patients who have fully recovered, was among the first countries to declare a national emergency to contain the virus and prevent it from spreading.
“We have taken precautionary measures to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the Kingdom during the Haj season,” said Al-Khasheem. “We have made early preparations for the annual pilgrimage,” he added.
Al-Khasheem said his ministry would focus on pilgrims arriving through 16 entry points, including King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, the main gateway for pilgrims, and Prince Mohammed Airport in Madinah.
The Ebola outbreak is concentrated in three West African countries. Guinea reported 510 cases and 377 deaths, while Sierra Leone reported 670 cases and 355 deaths and Liberia 670 cases and 355 deaths. Nigeria does not share a border with any of the most endemic West African countries.


Saudi envoy highlights Coalition’s support of humanitarian operations in Yemen

Updated 21 September 2018
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Saudi envoy highlights Coalition’s support of humanitarian operations in Yemen

  • UN official briefd on the plans and projects of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen

JEDDAH: Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, Saudi ambassador to Yemen and executive director of the “Isnad” Center for Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations in Yemen, met on Thursday with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths.

During the meeting, Al-Jaber highlighted Saudi Arabia and the coalition states’ support of humanitarian operations in Yemen in light of violations committed by the Houthi militias.

He also briefed the UN official on the plans and projects of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen, affirming its support in accordance with three references (Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, outputs of the national dialogue and Security Council Resolution 2216).

Griffiths highlighted his efforts with the Iran-backed Houthi militias to return to the negotiating table.

Earlier, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsin Saleh met with Griffiths. They discussed the latest developments in the Yemeni arena and efforts for peace there.