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.


Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 15 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.