Saudi Health Ministry issues eye-safety tips for pilgrims

Pilgrims who recently underwent eye surgery should wear a plastic protective cover on their eyes throughout Hajj to avoid dust and potential inflammation. (SPA)
Updated 01 September 2017

Saudi Health Ministry issues eye-safety tips for pilgrims

MAKKAH: The Health Ministry has urged pilgrims to follow eye-safety guidelines during Hajj, and avoid standing under the sun for long periods without protective eyewear.
The ministry called on pilgrims to wear sunglasses during the day to protect their eyes from potential damage by the sun.
Allergic conjunctivitis from dust during the Hajj season is common. Symptoms include watery eyes, redness and severe itching.
The best way to relieve it is by using cold water to wash the face and eyes. 
When eye problems occur, patients should use special drops, including lubricating solutions and anti-allergic drops, depending on the severity of the disease.
The ministry said another eye disease pilgrims are exposed to is inflammatory bacterial conjunctivitis, due to exposure to severe dust or using someone else’s personal items.
Symptoms include redness of the eyes, discharge and swollen eyelids in the morning.
In this case, patients should get prescription drops, ointments or antibiotics.
They should also wash their eyes and avoid using any other people’s personal items such as towels. 
Pilgrims who recently underwent eye surgery should wear a plastic protective cover on their eyes throughout Hajj to avoid dust and potential inflammation, the ministry said.
It also urged them to avoid severe stress or carrying heavy objects. 
If a foreign object enters the eye, a pilgrim should not try to remove it, but instead wash the eye and visit the nearest medical center.

Toll-free number launched to assist pilgrims

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has launched a 24-hour, toll-free number to serve and help the guests of Allah.
The ministry has allocated the number 8004304444 to communicate with pilgrims and receive their inquiries and observations, from inside and outside the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday.
“Calling the… number will help pilgrims find a solution to a problem they might face during Hajj,” a ministry official said.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom has launched a Persian-language satellite TV channel to broadcast Hajj, which began live coverage on Thursday.
Adel Al-Barriah, the program director, said the 24-hour live broadcast channel will provide valuable information about the pilgrimage, targeting more than 130 million Persian-speaking people worldwide.
The channel will telecast its coverage via four satellites: Arabsat, Nilesat, Yahsat and Hot Bird.
The Persian telecast will also highlight the Kingdom’s concerted efforts to facilitate Hajj in its endeavor to serve the guests of Allah.

Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019

Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.