Two cases of H5N8 avian flu recorded in Saudi Arabia

Tracy Otterson puts avian influenza samples in the centrifuge to clean them up before moving to extraction, in this file photo taken on April 8, 2015 at the University of Minnesotaís Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory in St. Paul, Minn. (AP)
Updated 02 April 2018
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Two cases of H5N8 avian flu recorded in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture on Sunday announced detection of two cases of H5N8 avian flu in Al-Kharj governorate, reported the Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi authorities are actively taking measures to contain the virus. In its daily briefing, the ministry affirmed that the number of samples collected from different parts of the Kingdom since the first case was reported reached 12, 829. Out of the samples, only 171 were tested positive for the virus.
Bird flu strains have hit poultry flocks in a number of countries across the world in recent years, with some types of the disease also causing human infections and deaths.
H5N8 is highly pathogenic to birds (high death rates) and was first discovered in Ireland in 1983. Since then it has been reported in numerous locations around the world.
This strain, however, has not caused any human infections so far anywhere in the world.
According to an Arab News report published in January, the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) enforced a ban on the hunting of migratory birds to help prevent avian influenza.
The migratory birds include houbara bustards, passerines, flamingos, pelicans, cranes and turtle doves.
They temporarily stay, mainly in Al-Hair in Riyadh, Al-Asfar Lake, Jubail Marine Protected Area, Domat Al-Jandal in Al-Jouf, Farasan Islands and Wadi Aljizan. They will leave at the start of spring.


Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. (SPA)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

  • Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927).
The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.