Stigma horror: 7 with HIV ‘sacked unfairly’

Updated 10 June 2015

Stigma horror: 7 with HIV ‘sacked unfairly’

RIYADH: Seven people who have tested positive for HIV have been fired unfairly from their jobs at private companies, a local charity announced on Tuesday.
Abdullah Al-Huqail, deputy board chairman of the Charitable Society for the Care of AIDS Patients (Mana’a) in Riyadh and head of the infectious diseases department at King Faisal Specialist Hospital, said that he had assured them they could get their jobs back, but they refused to return because of the stigma attached to having the virus, the report in a local daily stated.
Al-Huqail said that the charity had recently assisted a primary school student who had AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The child had contracted the virus from his mother at birth. The charity’s officials had then gone to the school to explain his predicament, and asked the administration to keep his condition a secret until he could complete his education. Al-Huqail said that while cases worldwide had dropped by
23 percent, there was a 13 percent rise in the Kingdom. Briefing volunteers seeking to helping people with AIDS, he said that those living with the virus can live productive lives with proper treatment and support.
Al-Huqail said that people must distinguish between those afflicted with HIV and others with full-blown AIDS.
Those living with HIV can take drugs that would control the virus, while those at an advanced stage of AIDS often do not respond to treatment, he said.

Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

Updated 23 min 40 sec ago

Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

  • The Kingdom has gained experience in dealing with millions of peoples, says crowd expert

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has announced its readiness to deal with any epidemic cases. It said that it will provide all necessary information to pilgrims and has doubled cleaning times of the courtyards and corridors of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The presidency said that it is raising media awareness in all languages and through informative screens to distribute the latest medical instructions and emergency developments.

Abdulhamid Al-Maliki, assistant undersecretary for services affairs at the presidency, told Arab News that the Two Holy Mosques are collaborating with public health authorities to face all possible situations.

Al-Maliki said that he has been working hand-in-hand with governmental and private agencies to distribute masks and hand sanitizer.

He added that coordination has been made with public health-related bodies to mobilize the necessary media coverage to inform all pilgrims of different nationalities wherever they may be.

The assistant undersecretary said that responding to all instructions and advice is necessary for the best handling of health issues.

Crowd expert Akram Jan said that Saudi Arabia has gained experience in dealing with crowds and millions of people, and that it was prepared to handle several sudden scenarios as well as the most difficult situations with success.

Jan said that the difficulties that accompany the presence of viruses — such as the new coronavirus — are their ability to spread and infect through contact or sneezing. He added that the Kingdom is taking precautionary measures to prevent a disaster from happening.



The floors of Makkah’s Grand Mosque are washed and disinfected four times daily as part of measures to ensure the safety of pilgrims and visitors.

Highly qualified cadres use the best technology and cleaning and sanitizing tools, said Jaber Widaani, director of the mosque’s department of disinfection and carpets. 

There are 13,500 prayer rugs at the mosque, all of which are swept and fragranced on a daily basis, he added.

Since the new coronavirus emerged in December 2019 in central China, it has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths. The illness it causes was named COVID-19, a reference to its origin late last year.

Middle East countries have been implementing measures to protect their citizens and residents from the rising coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, Dubai’s Emirates announced a temporary ban on carrying Umrah pilgrims and tourists from nearly two dozen countries to Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came after the Kingdom placed a temporary ban on pilgrims from entering the country to perform Umrah, in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.