Govt to keep Haj infection-free

Updated 30 August 2014
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Govt to keep Haj infection-free

The Ministry of Health announced Saturday mandatory measures for Haj and Umrah pilgrims coming from countries with high rates of infectious diseases.
The ministry had already sent out a circular to the Foreign Ministry, which distributed among embassies the notice spelling out health requirements prior to issuing pilgrim visas.
Sami Badawood, Jeddah Health Affairs director, told Arab News on Friday that the Kingdom has been carefully monitoring developments that are taking place around the globe in the field of infectious diseases.
“The requirements stipulated in the circular are in line with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on controlling the spread of infection,” he said.
The Kingdom’s focus this year is on the Ebola virus, which has registered the worst outbreak ever.
Ebola is centered in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea but has spread to other countries in recent months.
According to the latest WHO report, 221 laboratory-confirmed and suspected Ebola cases surfaced between Aug. 17 and 18 and a total 106 deaths were reported from these four main endemic countries during the same period.
“Although we do not issue Haj visas for pilgrims coming from endemic countries, we will still be monitoring pilgrims coming from other African countries for Ebola symptoms,” said Badawood.
He said the ministry would also focus on diseases such as yellow fever, meningitis, seasonal influenza, polio and food poisoning.
He added that vaccination should be administered to pilgrims 10 days before the dates of their departure for Makkah and Madinah.
“We have prescribed certain vaccines depending on the country,” he said.
“Ships and aircraft with pilgrims on board should also produce a certificate that carriers are free of mosquitoes.”
Yellow fever-endemic countries are Angola, Benin, Sudan, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic (CAR), Cameroon, Burundi, Chad, Uganda, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Kenya, Liberia, Sao Tomé and Principe, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mali, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Brazil, Bolivia, Suriname, Peru, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay.
He said that vaccination against meningitis is mandatory for local as well as foreign pilgrims.
The vaccination should be given 10 days before departure and is valid only for a period of three years.
Badawood pointed out that meningitis may spread during Haj, causing outbreaks, especially among pilgrims coming from endemic areas. He added that congestion and overcrowding exacerbates transmission of diseases.
The meningitis vaccine is given to adults and children over the age of two and it is not administered to pregnant women.
Vaccination for polio is also compulsory for all pilgrims coming from African countries, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Afghanistan.
An oral dose of polio is also compulsory for people coming from Uganda, Kenya, Benin, Angola, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, CAR, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia.
Upon arrival, pilgrims from these countries will be given another oral dose of polio vaccine irrespective of their age.
Besides these vaccinations, the spokesman advised pilgrims to take precautions against influenza to prevent flu during their stay in the Kingdom.
The flu vaccine is not mandatory but is strongly advised considering present weather conditions and the susceptibility of pilgrims to influenza.
High-risk patients who have chronic ailments, such as diabetes, hypertension and renal diseases, have been advised to take the flu vaccine, which will help them to perform Haj and Umrah rituals more efficiently.


Brazilian agriculture minister hails multibillion-dollar trade bond with Saudi Arabia

Updated 18 September 2019

Brazilian agriculture minister hails multibillion-dollar trade bond with Saudi Arabia

  • Around 96 percent of total Saudi exports to Brazil were in crude oil and other items including fertilizers

RIYADH: Brazil’s agriculture minister on Tuesday hailed the multibillion-dollar trade bond between her country and Saudi Arabia and vowed to explore new export opportunities.

During a visit to Riyadh as part of a tour of Arab states, Tereza Cristina, the Brazilian minister of agriculture, livestock and supply, pledged to further boost economic relations with the Kingdom.

Speaking to Arab News at the Saudi-Brazilian Agricultural Business Forum held at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), Cristina said the Kingdom was a major economic partner for Brazil in the Middle East, especially in the agricultural sector, and stressed the need to diversify opportunities.

“This is my first visit to the Kingdom. There is a long relationship between the two countries and enhancing relations in trade is important.”

According to Cristina, Saudi Arabia was the seventh-biggest importer of Brazilian agricultural products. “We can diversify our exports to the Kingdom, limited not only to meat, beef, poultry, and sugar but also other products,” she added.

The minister said that during her visit her country had agreed with Saudi authorities to first-time exports of Brazilian nuts, several fruits, and egg products.

“I am here to speak with the Saudi authorities about the new government in Brazil led by President Jair Bolsonaro, how the new system is working and what we can offer in very frank, honest and transparent relations between the two countries.”

She pointed out that Bolsonaro would be visiting Saudi Arabia for the Future Investment Initiative (FII 2019) forum being held in Riyadh in October.

FASTFACTS

• Bilateral trade between Brazil and Saudi Arabia had reached $2.95 billion (SR11.07 billion) by the end of August 2019.

• Brazil’s top 10 product groups of exports to the Kingdom were poultry, sugar, oil seeds and derivatives, beef, armaments, cereals, ores, wood and steel products and machinery.

Bilateral trade between Brazil and Saudi Arabia had reached $2.95 billion (SR11.07 billion) by the end of August 2019, she said, around a 2 percent increase on the same period in 2018, valued at $2.89 billion. Brazilian exports made up $1.35 billion of the figure with Saudi sales to Brazil hitting $1.6 billion.

Brazil’s top 10 product groups of exports to the Kingdom were poultry, sugar, oil seeds and derivatives, beef, armaments, cereals, ores, wood and steel products, and machinery.

Around 96 percent of total Saudi exports to Brazil were in crude oil. Other items during 2018 were fertilizers, plastic and aluminum products, and chemicals.

According to the Brazilian embassy, the South American country’s agricultural and livestock sector products represented 84 percent ($1.76 billion) of the total value of its exports to Saudi in 2018.

Addressing the agricultural forum, which was also attended by Khaled Al-Aboudi, managing director of the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co. (SALIC), Christina pointed to possible future export openings for products such as dairy and fresh fruit.

While the Kingdom sought to achieve food security, Brazil had many opportunities in the agricultural field, she added.

Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply Tereza Cristina at the Saudi-Brazilian Agricultural Business Forum in Riyadh. (AN photo/Ahmed Fathi)

Al-Aboudi said that he was looking forward to further cooperation between the two countries in the agriculture, food and livestock sectors. He added that the meeting offered the chance to strengthen economic ties through developing joint investments and exchanging information on investment opportunities.

Saudi Arabia was the second stop on the minister’s tour of Arab countries which began in Egypt and will take in Kuwait and the UAE.

In Riyadh, Cristina also held a meeting with the Saudi Vice Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Mansour H. Al-Mushaiti and was told that the Kingdom needed fodder for animal feed, which Brazil could supply.

She also met with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority CEO Hisham bin Saad Al-Jadhey and discussed issues of mutual interest.

On the fires that have been raging in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, Cristina told Arab News: “Yes, there is a problem, but the whole issue has been widely exaggerated and blown out of proportion. It’s a very complex issue and the Brazilian government is taking measures to control it and address the problems.

“Right now, it is a dry season in the Amazon region, which is a season when we see fire incident naturally,” she added.