Despite Ebola, 70,000 Nigerian Hajis coming

Updated 08 September 2014
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Despite Ebola, 70,000 Nigerian Hajis coming

Saudi Arabia has no plan to ban some 70,000 Nigerian pilgrims from performing Haj this year because of Ebola virus cases that have surfaced in the West African country, a senior Saudi health official said.
“We have not stopped issuing Haj visas to Nigerians and we know that about 70,000 pilgrims come from the African country every year,” said Mohammed Al-Khasheem, deputy health minister for planning and development. He said the department for preventive medicine at the ministry is in continuous contact with the WHO to stay up to date on the latest developments on the Ebola virus and other infectious diseases.
“The WHO knows the situation in Mina and Arafat during the Haj season and there is no need to worry about a few Ebola cases that have occurred in Nigeria,” he said.
Nigeria, which has reported 13 confirmed cases, with five deaths and four patients who have fully recovered, was among the first countries to declare a national emergency to contain the virus and prevent it from spreading.
“We have taken precautionary measures to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the Kingdom during the Haj season,” said Al-Khasheem. “We have made early preparations for the annual pilgrimage,” he added.
Al-Khasheem said his ministry would focus on pilgrims arriving through 16 entry points, including King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, the main gateway for pilgrims, and Prince Mohammed Airport in Madinah.
The Ebola outbreak is concentrated in three West African countries. Guinea reported 510 cases and 377 deaths, while Sierra Leone reported 670 cases and 355 deaths and Liberia 670 cases and 355 deaths. Nigeria does not share a border with any of the most endemic West African countries.


Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

At a five-star hotel in Davos, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming ‘The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.’ (AN photo)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

  • The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders

DAVOS: From the sub-zero temperatures of the icy Davos Promenade you are ushered through a glass door into the warmth of a desert majlis, with works by young Saudi artists on the walls and traditional Arabian delicacies being served. It is quite a culture shock.

The Davos majlis is the work of the Misk Global Forum (MGF), the international arm of the organization founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to promote youth empowerment. 

The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders.

“The Kingdom’s participation in WEF 2019 highlights its role in developing the regional and global economy, and reflects the nation’s continuing ambition for sustainable development,” said Bader Al-Asaker, head of the crown prince’s private office and chairman of the Misk Initiatives Center. 

The Saudi delegation’s HQ overlooks the main congress hall, inside the Davos security cordon. 

At a nearby five-star hotel, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming: “The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.” 

This is the second year Misk has been prominent at Davos. As well as the majlis, its pavilion offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in modern Saudi art via a virtual reality tour of the work of four young artists.

Misk is organizing daily events there, building up to a power breakfast with leading executives on Friday on the theme of youth empowerment.

“In an age of profound economic disruption, we regard young people as the problem-solvers, not a problem to be solved,” said MGF executive manager Shaima Hamidaddin.

“We’re holding interactive discussions on how to empower young people to be the architects of the future economy, not the tenants of it.”