Saudi agencies launch Hajj apps supporting Urdu, other languages

Updated 07 August 2019

Saudi agencies launch Hajj apps supporting Urdu, other languages

  • The app is available in nine languages
  • Pakistan also launched four smartphone apps to facilitate Hajj pilgrims

JEDDAH: Hajj authorities have launched two interactive apps to help pilgrims, with a range of services on smart devices including help in finding emergency service centers, holy sites, currency exchanges, restaurants and accommodation.
Available in nine languages including English, Urdu and French, the Manasikana app was launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in cooperation with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. It provides geographical coordinates to pinpoint exact locations in Makkah, Madinah and other cities, even without an Internet connection.
Holy sites in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa, plus mosques, restaurants and toilets are among places highlighted on the app, which has already been downloaded more than 10,000 times.
Prayers for different Hajj rituals are also available, with detailed guides and dos and don’ts on performing the pilgrimage.
The Saudi Post’s app for pilgrims, the Hajj and Umrah Navigator, features maps giving directions to holy places in Makkah and Madinah. Pilgrims can input addresses, services, camp numbers or the names of Hajj companies to search for information in 16 languages.
The navigator can also find faster routes between busy centers and offers other information such as directions to the Kaaba, weather forecasts and prayer times.
The Saudi Ministry of Interior’s traffic police department for Hajj has also developed an app for organizers planning vehicle movements during peak periods. It is constantly updated to cover all types of transport.


Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

Updated 09 August 2020

Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

  • Islamabad’s PIMS hospital had less than 10 coronavirus patients before Eid Al-Adha but new patients coming in since
  • Pakistan announced on Thursday it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and infectious disease experts on Thursday warned of a possible surge in coronavirus cases due to a premature lifting of restrictions, as the government announced a day earlier that it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Pakistan shut schools and land borders nearly five months ago, decided to limit domestic and international flights and discouraged large gatherings to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus. But with infections and deaths down nearly 80 percent since their peak as per government records, the government decided on Thursday to lift the lockdowns to help the country return to normalcy.
Pakistan celebrated the Eid Al-Adha religious holiday last week. After the last major Islamic festival, of Eid Al-Fitr, in May, infections rose to their peak in Pakistan.
Dr. Nasim Akhtar, head of infectious diseases at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad, told Arab News the coronavirus ward at her hospital only had five to six patients before Eid, but new patients had once again started coming in.
“Cases registered a sharp increase after Eid Al-Fitr, and this can happen now again with the lifting of the lockdowns,” she said, adding that the government should have waited at least two more weeks to reopen restaurants and other public places.
“This is a bit early, and may worsen the situation again,” Akhtar said.
The World Health Organization has said “extreme vigilance” was needed as countries begin to exit from lockdowns, amid global concerns about a second wave of infections.
Germany earlier reported an acceleration in new coronavirus infections after it took early steps to ease its lockdown. South Korea, another country that had succeeded in limiting virus infections, saw a new outbreak.
“The next week is crucial to see if the infections soar as just one week has passed now since the Eid holidays,” Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, secretary-general of the Pakistan Medical Association, told Arab News.

 

 

Cases could also surge during the Islamic month of Muharram, which begins in late August, he said, and due to independence day celebrations on August 14. Huge crowds come out all over the world, including in Muslim-majority Pakistan, to commemorate the slaying of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).
“We think that the opening of all these things in a hurry ... probably this will create problems for us,” Sajjad said.
He said infections had risen sharply in the United States and Brazil after the nations lifted restrictions when cases initially declined. Spain reported 1,772 new coronavirus infections on Aug 6, marking the biggest jump since a national lockdown was lifted in June.
University of Health Sciences vice chancellor Javed Akram, however, called the reopening of public places a “wise decision.”
“The government cannot keep the cities and businesses under lockdown forever,” he said. “People should follow health guidelines to fight the virus.”