Saudi Arabia sends emergency aid to China to combat Coronavirus

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Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor general of KSRelief, and Chinese Ambassador Chen Weiqing stand during the contracts signing ceremony. (Supplied)
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Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor general of KSRelief, and Chinese Ambassador Chen Weiqing watch a video presentation by the Chinese Embassy. (Supplied)
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Chinese Ambassador Chen Weiqing presents a souvenir to Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor general of KSRelief. (Supplied)
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Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor general of KSRelief, presents a memento to Chinese Ambassador Chen Weiqing. (Supplied)
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Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor general of KSRelief, with Chinese Ambassador Chen Weiqing at the signing ceremony. (Supplied)
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Updated 13 February 2020

Saudi Arabia sends emergency aid to China to combat Coronavirus

  • KSRelief is overseeing the provision of assistance in coordination with the Chinese Embassy in Saudi Arabia
  • Supervisor General of KSRelief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah: This initiative reflects the strong (and longstanding) relationship between Saudi Arabia and China

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia signed six contracts on Thursday to provide medical assistance to China as it attempts to combat the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) is overseeing the provision of assistance in coordination with the Chinese Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

The project will provide 1,159 medical devices, including ultrasound machines, non-invasive ventilators, defibrillators, monitors, infusion pumps, injection pumps and continuous renal replacement therapy.

Protective medical masks and isolation suits will also be provided, including 300,000 N95 masks and 1,000 other important materials used in such crises.

“This initiative reflects the strong (and longstanding) relationship between Saudi Arabia and China”, said Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of KSRelief. “The Kingdom strives to fight crises facing countries and communities. It is always aiming to support stability and sustainable development around the world.”

Al-Rabeeah told Arab News: "These six agreements to provide China with medical equipment, diagnostic, curative, and preventive supplies, and protective clothes, are all based on the request of the Government of China.

“King Salman responded immediately, and the center managed to provide those supplies in a very short time, at a time when most countries (are not able to do so), and these items will be delivered within five days."  

On February 10, King Salman directed KSrelief to do all it could to assist the Chinese authorities and provide urgent support.

The Saudi Ministry of Health (MoH) has confirmed on Twitter that no cases of novel Coronavirus have yet been recorded in Saudi Arabia, and that precautionary measures are being implemented at all ports to prevent the virus from entering the Kingdom.

In an emotional address, Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing said: "I (offer my) deep gratitude. Currently, the Chinese people are doing their utmost to fight against the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP), and — at such a critical moment — King Salman telephoned President Xi Jinping, expressing his firm support and his instructions to KSRelief to provide emergency medical supplies to China.

"This aid will surely bring a ‘timely rain’ to the medical staff and people in Wuhan and some other affected areas," Weiqing continued. "It reflects the sincere friendship of the Saudi government and people towards the Chinese government and people. It is you who brought love to the hearts of the Chinese people."

He also stressed the need for the international community to act together in the best interests of everyone. “Today, I come with a message of unity. In the era of globalization, public health security bears on the common destiny of mankind,” he said, adding that “solidarity” is the best way to face such medical challenges.


Saudi Arabia reopens its land borders with UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain

Updated 29 min 46 sec ago

Saudi Arabia reopens its land borders with UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain

  • Commercial traffic flows unhindered as measures to curb spread of virus eased and normality returns

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s land borders with the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain will reopen after a four-month closure as the Kingdom eases the pandemic’s restrictions and economic activity returns to normal.

Commercial trucks carrying goods for the Kingdom will also be allowed to enter through land ports from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states following a circular issued by Saudi Customs.

On March 7, the Kingdom announced that land border crossings with the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain would be limited to commercial trucks as part of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile Saudi Customs officials are taking the lead in identifying air travelers harboring COVID-19 by employing specially trained sniffer dogs.

On March 7, the Kingdom announced that land border crossings with the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain would be limited to commercial trucks as part of the government’s efforts to contain the virus spread.

The canine virus detectors are being drafted in at airports throughout the Kingdom to help pick up the scent of infected passengers. Following the resumption of international flights, customs staff in Saudi Arabia are to use the animals as part of their efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

Saudi health authorities recorded 1,342 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the total number in the Kingdom to 281,435. The death toll rose by 35 to 2,984

Of the latest cases, 97 were in Riyadh, 56 in Makkah, 53 in Madinah and Hafr Al-Batin, and 51 in Dammam, with 40 percent of them women.

There were 34,763 active cases, with most patients in a stable condition, and 1,983 critical.

The number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 increased to 243,688, with 1,635 of those being in the latest 24-hour period.