MERS tests for camels and livestock

Updated 05 June 2014
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MERS tests for camels and livestock

The Kingdom has started testing camels in the country for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), according to Minister of Agriculture Fahd Balghuneim.
Speaking at a workshop in Riyadh recently on registering and numbering livestock in the country, Balghuneim said the ministry would start testing all livestock in the Kingdom starting next week to make sure they do not have MERS.
He said there would be coordination with the Saudi Wildlife Authority to take samples from wild animals kept in nature reserves to determine the level of coronavirus infection in the Kingdom.
He said there is no suitable equipment to conduct speedy tests for coronavirus. Officials have to take blood or mucus samples, which takes a long time.
Balghuneim confirmed that there are no tests for the coronavirus at quarantine sites in countries exporting animals to Saudi Arabia.
He said the measure is part of the ministry’s program to control the spread of infectious diseases. Livestock entering the Kingdom just before Ramadan would be quarantined and vaccinated in exporting countries.
“We started registering and numbering livestock last year in Um Raqaiba. We started with camels belonging to Prince Mishal bin Abdulaziz to encourage other camel owners to do the same. Next week we will speed up the operation. The numbering of livestock will include sheep and camels in Badia through contractors working for the Ministry of Agriculture,” he said.
Balghuneim said centers in exporting countries quarantine their livestock for a few days, vaccinate and then send them to the Kingdom, as required by the Saudi government.
When the livestock reaches the Kingdom, samples are taken. If the animals are disease-free, they are allowed entry into the Kingdom. If they have diseases, they are quarantined. Those animals that cannot be treated are put down.
He said the ministry is investigating other ways to test camels and livestock bound for the Kingdom.
The minister said the Kingdom does not import live cows from countries identified by the World Health Organization to have mad cow disease.
“We are responsible for managing livestock, and to get accurate information we need to have an inventory of livestock in the Kingdom.” He said numbering methods for inventories are used in many countries.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

Updated 24 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize on Wednesday the launch of the “Qiddiya” Project which is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom.
The project will be built in Al-Giddiya area, some 40 km west of the capital, Riyadh.
The foundation stone ceremony of will be attended by a host of local and international officials, as well as a number of decision-makers, major investors and representatives of the regional and international companies, marking the launch of the project’s formal infrastructure. The first phase will be completed by 2022.
In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi, Secretary General of the Foundation Council of the Qiddiya Project of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) said that the inauguration of this vital project is a real translation of the aspirations of the Kingdom’s wise leadership and its relentless efforts to develop mega projects that would contribute effectively to achieve many direct and indirect economic returns, and to advance sustainable development for the benefit of the homeland and the citizen, in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
“About two-thirds of the Kingdom’s population is under the age of 35. There is a great need for Qiddiya Project to provide them with entertainment. The project will save about $30 billion, which will be used to develop the domestic economy and create new job opportunities for Saudi youths,” he added.
For his part, Michael Reininger, Chief Executive of Qiddiya, said, “we are delighted to be a key contributor to boost the Kingdom’s economic development and investment, not only for the entertainment industry but also to projects that will develop the capabilities the young Saudi people.”