Hajj pilgrims get clean bill of health

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Muslim worshippers watch as others circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 17, 2018 prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
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Muslim worshippers circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 17, 2018 prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
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Muslim pilgrims pray at the Mount Al-Noor, where Muslims believe Prophet Mohammad received the first words of the Holy Koran through Gabriel in the Hera cave, ahead of annual hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia August 18, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Muslim worshippers circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 17, 2018 prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
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Muslim pilgrims pray while they the Mount Al-Noor, where Muslims believe Prophet Mohammad received the first words of the Holy Koran through Gabriel in the Hera cave, ahead of annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, August 18, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Muslim pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (AP)
Updated 19 August 2018
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Hajj pilgrims get clean bill of health

  • 50% of pilgrims are headed directly to Madinah and 50% are headed to Makkah and will visit Madinah after Hajj season

JEDDAH: Pilgrims at this year’s Hajj have been given a clean bill of health by Saudi authorities who confirmed on Saturday that no cases of epidemic or quarantine disease have been reported.
The Ministry of Health said that 1,647,351 pilgrims were provided with preventive services through health outlets from the first of the month of Dul Qadah until Saturday.
The general rate of commitment among the pilgrims to take preventive vaccines stood at about 80 percent for meningitis, 96.3 percent for yellow fever and 87.5 percent for polio, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the ministry also provided emergency services in Makkah and Madinah hospitals to 280,773 pilgrims, bringing to 17,820 the number of visits to clinics, while medical centers treated 246,156 outpatients.
The number of cases hospitalized was 1,651, with nine births recorded.


Ronaldinho plans Saudi Arabia football academy in Jeddah

Updated 14 November 2018
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Ronaldinho plans Saudi Arabia football academy in Jeddah

  • Backstage at Misk Global Forum, Brazilian football legend reveals intention to open school some time next year
  • Player offered advice for audience, speaking about the value of teamwork, learning from failure and the rewards of giving back

RIYADH: Ronaldinho plans to open a football academy in Jeddah some time next year, the Brazilian football legend revealed to Arab News backstage in an exclusive interview after his appearance at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday.

“First of all, I want to say thank you for a warm reception and kindness which I have received from the Saudi people,” he told Arab News. “As for the kids, those who want to be a player some day, dedicate as much as you can and follow your dreams.”

Earlier, Ronaldinho appeared on stage to a chorus of cheers at the end of the day’s sessions, where he gave a talk titled the Discipline – and Fun – of Teamwork. 

”I was lucky enough to be on a team with stars,” he said of his career with European clubs Paris St-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan, and a World Cup win in 2002 with the Brazilian national team. “We all respected each other.

“For me it was wonderful, because my history with this team and players was a beautiful one: To idolize them and later play with them and later win titles again…”

Ronaldinho said he feels grateful for his God-given talent. “Throughout my career we had a plan, and I always worked hard. God gave me the privilege to play football. It was fun, not a sacrifice.”

“I’ve always liked to have a ball around me, to have contact with the ball.”

His advice for the audience? “Prepare yourself and help your colleague or team member,” he said. “Humility is important. Try to stay humble.”

He also said to train hard, read as much as you can and don’t fear failure. “I failed a lot of times,” he said. “Football is like that. You can’t always win. You have to seek lessons from the defeats and not lose hope.” 

Now that he’s retired, Ronaldinho is more concerned with giving back. “After I stopped playing, I have soccer academies. That’s what I’m proud of, and it has given me pleasure. To give something back (as a)  thanks to football and everything it have given me.”