Sri Lanka’s MERS alert on KSA-bound flights

Updated 23 October 2013
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Sri Lanka’s MERS alert on KSA-bound flights

The Sri Lankan government is warning passengers heading to Saudi Arabia to take precautions against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which has infected 119 people and caused 51 deaths in the Kingdom.
An official from the Colombo Ministry of Health told Arab News at Katunayake International Airport recently that the advisory was for all Middle East passengers.
The officer distributed brochures on the virus in Sinhalese, Tamil and English languages to all outbound and inbound Middle East passengers.
“We are discouraging people who have chronic problems such as diabetes, kidney, lung and cardiac diseases, from going to the Kingdom. These diseases will increase the risk of becoming victims of the virus,” he said.
“We are also telling outbound passengers to maintain personal hygiene such as washing their hands before food consumption, eating well-cooked food, washing raw vegetables and fruit before consumption, covering their noses while sneezing and avoiding unnecessary contact with farm, domestic and wild animals.”
He said incoming passengers are warned to watch for symptoms of the virus such as high fever, coughing, runny nose, shortness of breath and diarrhea.
A recent study on MERS-CoV conducted by the Ministry of Health showed that it is more complex than previously thought. The study suggested the virus could have come from humans or animals.
The study was conducted in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the University of Edinburgh, and the University College London (UCL).
Researchers studied the genetic sequences of some samples of the virus taken from 21 patients in different parts of the Kingdom. Researchers linked the geographical location of patients and time of injury with the amount of genetic differences that were observed between the genomes of the virus. This gave a clearer image of how the genome of the virus changes and spreads over time.
The genome sequencing identified several infection chains of MERS-CoV in humans.


Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

Umm Al-Qura was the first newspaper to be published during the time of Saudi Arabia's founder.
Updated 21 May 2018
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Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

  • It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz
  • Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924

MAKKAH: It is considered one of the most important and prestigious Saudi Arabian newspapers. 

It has witnessed crucial decisions in the country, observed the history of the region throughout a century, recording details of life in the Kingdom becoming a reference for historical decisions and events.

Umm Al-Qura’s Editor in Chief Abdullah Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has the support and supervision of Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, who has harnessed all the resources for its modern launch. Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924.

It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz. The headline in the first issue of the newspaper was “The Makkah Declaration,” and this story was accompanied by news and official statements.

Al-Ahmadi said that the paper continued its coverage during World War II, although its presses did stop for a period of up to eight weeks in 1924 before King Abdul Aziz ordered paper to be imported and printing to resume.

Umm Al-Qura’s first editor in chief was Sheikh Yusuf Yassin, who was followed by Rushdi Malhas. Both figures held diplomatic positions during King Abdul Aziz’s reign, along with Mohammed Saeed Abdul Maksoud, Fouad Shaker and Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari.

Al-Ahmadi added that the newspaper has monitored the personal stories of the Kingdom’s kings, giving precise details of the historical and political events of the last century. He added that it has the full Saudi archive and it has become a historical reference for history, the economy and politics.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper was a combination of news, sports and social events during 30 years of its foundation. It had adverts on some pages, reflecting the region’s identity and local, economic and cognitive dimensions.

Al-Ahmadi said that with its launch, the newspaper formed the memory, aspirations and ambitions of Saudi Arabia. It was the only media platform in which the world explored the local news, along with the cultural, educational and economic news. 

It covered their advocacy of the crucial decisions — notably the Palestinian cause that Saudi Arabia has defended since the time of its founder.

Umm Al-Qura’s editor in chief said his main concern, along with his former colleagues in the newspaper’s management, was its development and relaunch, pointing out that a number of challenges have been overcome. 

The newspaper has been developed across the board — from layout and content to its brand logo and colors, he said.

Al-Ahmadi added that new and modern printers have been provided, and the newspaper has improved in line with technical and modern changes. 

He said the government also helped restore the back issues damaged by moths.

The operation was carried out by specialized experts who supervised the whole operation to protect the issues from getting lost. All issues were archived online and missing issues are being updated, he added.

Al-Ahmadi said that the newspaper’s website will provide a digital media platform for the documentation process, giving integrated information about the newspaper.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has a website archive for researchers and academics. 

He added that a large number of master’s and doctorate degrees as well as surveys took place with the help of the newspaper that has become a historic reference for scholars and researchers.