G20 discusses digital-tech role in tackling COVID-19

The G20 ministers responsible for the digital economy - including of Saudi Arabia - held a virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Screenshot/G20)
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Updated 01 May 2020

G20 discusses digital-tech role in tackling COVID-19

  • G20 ministers responsible for the digital economy held a virtual meeting on Thursday

RIYADH: The G20 ministers responsible for the digital economy held a virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministers vowed to work together to deliver on the commitment to leverage digital technologies made at the extraordinary virtual summit on G20 leaders on March 26, held under Saudi Arabia’s presidency.

“We emphasize the promising role of digital technologies and relevant digital policies to strengthen and accelerate our collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to enhance our ability to prevent and mitigate future crises,” the ministers said in a final communiqué following their meeting on Thursday. “We will work together on an urgent basis with the private sector and business entities, in particular with telecommunications and Internet service providers, and civil society, to maximize inclusive, secure, and affordable connectivity, especially in underserved areas and for vulnerable people.

“We underscore the importance of keeping telecommunication networks and digital infrastructure, in particular in health provider and research environments, robust, secure, accessible, and resilient,” the communiqué continued.

Acknowledging the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the power of data and artificial intelligence to accelerate pattern recognition and enable evidence-based policy-making, the ministers said in their joint statement: “We encourage collaboration to collect, pool, process, and share reliable and accurate non-personal information that can contribute to the monitoring, understanding, and prevention of the further spread of COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases.”

Given the urgency of slowing the spread of COVID-19, the ministers vowed: “We will endeavor to work collaboratively to leverage digital technologies and solutions to enable individuals and firms to continue to participate in the economy.”

The communiqué concluded: “We support the evidence-based, trustworthy, and human-centric deployment of digital technologies and solutions and any resulting policies, in a manner that respects individuals’ privacy, security, and human rights.”


Saudi Arabia opens world’s largest camel hospital

Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal, left, during a briefing on the world’s largest camel hospital that he inaugurated in Buraidah on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 07 July 2020

Saudi Arabia opens world’s largest camel hospital

  • The emir also toured sheds spread over a large area which can accommodate 4,000 riding camels at the same time

Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal on Sunday inaugurated the world’s biggest camel hospital in Buraidah. The Salam Veterinary Hospital will also have a modern research facility to diagnose diseases related to camels.
The governor said the project worth SR100 million is a national achievement and it will help enhance veterinary facilities in the Kingdom.
Prince Faisal toured the facility’s specialized central laboratories equipped with modern devices to conduct over 160 different types of analyses.
The emir also toured sheds spread over a large area which can accommodate  4,000 riding camels at the same time.
He was briefed on the model for the young camels unit, the ICU, CT scan unit, and the surgical theaters. The hospital is constructed on an area of 70,000 sq. meters.
Among the goals for establishing the hospital is to bring about a shift in embryology and the traditional fertilization process of camels, whose age ranges between 25 to 30 years. At present, they produce seven young camels per season. Additionally, the hospital will contribute to raising the rate of fetal production in camels from 100 fetuses to 700.