25 hospitals equipped to deal with coronavirus: Saudi health ministry

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Muslim pilgrims wear masks at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Makkah on Feb. 28, 2020. (AFP)
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Saudi officials from the health ministry, Hajj and Umrah ministry, and the foreign ministry attend a press conference for the coronavirus follow-up committee. (Screengrab)
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Muslim pilgrims wear masks at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Makkah on Feb. 28, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 01 March 2020

25 hospitals equipped to deal with coronavirus: Saudi health ministry

  • All Saudi citizens abroad have been evacuated from endemic area
  • Umrah visas have been halted for a short period of time

RIYADH: Twenty five hospitals have been equipped throughout the Kingdom to deal with any coronavirus infection that may be detected, a spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Health said on Sunday.
He also said that all Saudi citizens abroad have been evacuated from endemic areas and have returned to the Kingdom and received the necessary health measures, he said.
Mohammed Abdelali added that 2,200 hospital beds were dedicated for quarantine cases.
The kingdom has not recorded any cases of the new coronavirus so far, he said, adding that Saudi Arabia’s trade activity had not been impacted and “is going as usual.”

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He was speaking during a press conference for the coronavirus follow-up committee, which also included the Hajj and Umrah ministry, and foreign ministry.
The undersecretary for the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Umrah affairs Abdulaziz Wazzan said the ministry has started halting the automated system for issuing Umrah visas and the visa processing system for a short period of time.
“Precautionary measures have been circulated to Umrah companies and establishments operating in the Kingdom, in addition to external agents,” he added.
He also said that 469,000 pilgrims and visitors in the Kingdom have been present since the decision to stop the visas was made and 106,000 pilgrims have left since the decision was issued.
Saudi Arabia announced last week that it was suspending Umrah and Hajj visas temporarily as a preemptive measure.


Notice setting date for Saudi international flights ‘is bogus’

Updated 24 min 16 sec ago

Notice setting date for Saudi international flights ‘is bogus’

  • Aviation chiefs issue official denial after fake circular says passengers can fly to and from Kingdom from October

RIYADH: A fake circular suggesting Saudi Arabia will resume international flights in October has been condemned as “completely baseless and fabricated” by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
Rumors that international flights will shortly return have been circulating on social media in recent weeks without any official statement from GACA.
On Tuesday, the authority denied announcing the resumption of international flights and said information being circulated was fabricated.
Saudi Arabia suspended international flights from March 15 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since domestic flights restarted on May 31, rumors have been circulating regarding the return of international flights. On Monday, the bogus GACA circular was shared on various social media platforms suggesting flights into and out of Saudi Arabia would resume in October. It sparked a flurry of speculation.
The circular, titled “No flights till October 2020,” said: “An employee of the GACA has stated in a recent interview that all international flights to and from the Kingdom are to remain suspended till the month of October.” Quoting a GACA official, the circular said that the decision was subject to the number of coronavirus cases, which must “come down to three digits.”
GACA official spokesman Ibrahim bin Abdullah Alrwosa told Arab News the circular “is completely baseless and fabricated.”
He shared a tweet from the authority’s public relations department describing the circular as incorrect.
The civil aviation authority has previously said there is no specific date for the resumption of international flights, he added.
All international flights remain suspended until further notice.
However, exceptions have been made for humanitarian assistance and emergency cases, medical evacuation flights and repatriation of stranded citizens and expatriates wanting to return home.