Riyadh bird market closed after duck found with avian flu

Ducks carry the avian flu virus, but do not display symptoms of the infection. (AFP)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Riyadh bird market closed after duck found with avian flu

  • Azizia Bird Market shutdown after duck was found to be carrying H5N8 avian flu
  • Bird and poultry keepers warned not to go to Azizia bird market until clearance work has been completed on the site

JEDDAH: Azizia Bird Market in Riyadh has been closed after a duck was found to be carrying H5N8 avian flu during ongoing inspections of poultry markets in the Kingdom, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture announced on Friday.
Ministry spokesman Dr. Abdullah Abalkhail told Arab News that action was taken immediately after the bird was found to be infected.
Ducks carry the virus, but do not display symptoms of the infection.
As well as closing the market, the authorities have prevented the movement of birds in the market, and followed directions from Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz, Acting Governor of Riyadh Region, to dispose of the birds safely and efficiently.
A contingency plan for dealing with cases of bird flu was applied by the Ministry’s branch in Riyadh, in cooperation with the security authorities, Riyadh Municipality, Riyadh Health Affairs Directorate, and the Ministry of Finance.
Abalkhail stressed that the Ministry, in cooperation with the relevant government sectors, has managed to stop the disease from spreading.
To date, there have been no human cases of H5N8 in the Kingdom. The last case of avian flu was recorded in the Kingdom on April 17 this year.
Abalkhail warned bird and poultry keepers not to go to Azizia bird market until clearance work has been completed on the site in order to protect their birds from infection.
Avian flu spreads rapidly among birds. He urged the public to report any suspected cases by calling the emergency number 8002470000.


FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Updated 22 August 2018
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FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi has been the president of the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) since his appointment to the post in May 2016.

On Monday GASTAT announced this year’s Hajj statistics, revealing detailed information on the number of pilgrims (which amounted to 2,371,675) performing Hajj this year, their genders, nationalities and whether they arrived through air, land or seaports.

The president conveyed his gratitude to all government and security entities that helped the authority to collect data, and praised the 450 GASTAT researchers who worked to compile the information and deliver it to the public.

He said that the collected data would help facilitate better experiences and easier pilgrimages for future programs, and better services for pilgrims — from social to health, and transportation to security and food.

Altekhaifi received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from King Saud University in 1992, a master’s degree in statistics from Colorado State University in 1996, and his applied statistics and research methodology Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in 2001.

He worked as a manager of a financial program at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh from 1993 to 2005. For two years after that, he was a project director at the EIS department in Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants.

In 2007, Altekhaifi was appointed a manager of the research department at the Capital Market Authority, before becoming assistant deputy minister for development in November 2011. 

In June 2015, he was the director general of the Central Department of Statistics and Information. He served as the acting president of GASTAT in February 2016, before being appointed president on May 2016.