Self-sanitization gates installed at Makkah’s Grand Mosque

Self-sanitization gates installed at Makkah’s Grand Mosque
A police officer and a worker pass through a gate equipped with automatic sanitizers at the Makkah Grand Mosque on Thursday. (SPA)
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Updated 08 May 2020

Self-sanitization gates installed at Makkah’s Grand Mosque

Self-sanitization gates installed at Makkah’s Grand Mosque

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques inaugurated on Thursday advanced self-sanitization gates at the entrances to the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The gates spray visitors with disinfectants and are equipped with thermal cameras that can test temperatures from six meters away, as well as a smart screen to speed-read the temperatures of multiple people at once.

These advanced gates are part of the preventive measures taken by the presidency to confront the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


Saudi Arabia announces $20m grant to help cover Sudan’s debt with IMF

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the International Conference in Support of Sudan in Paris. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the International Conference in Support of Sudan in Paris. (SPA)
Updated 8 min 31 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces $20m grant to help cover Sudan’s debt with IMF

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the International Conference in Support of Sudan in Paris. (SPA)
  • King Salman and the crown prince were keen to ease Sudan’s debt burden

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has provided a $20 million grant toward covering part of Sudan’s financial debt with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the grant was an extension to previous support provided by the Kingdom to Sudan.
He was speaking as he led the Kingdom’s delegation at the International Conference in Support of Sudan in Paris on Monday.
Saudi Arabia also announced it would transfer the balance into the two emergency and deferred fees accounts with the IMF, to contribute to the handling of arrears and alleviate Sudan’s debt burden.
Prince Faisal said that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were keen to ease Sudan’s debt burden and contribute to addressing the nation’s arrears, in addition to “enhancing Saudi investments in Sudan and the Kingdom’s support for all sectors that would achieve the aspirations of the Sudanese people toward further progress, prosperity and development,” Saudi Press Agency reported.
“What unites us together today is our common goal to support the transitional phase that Sudan is going through toward a bright and prosperous future, and based on this, on April 13, 2019, my country announced its full support for the Sudanese people regarding their future and the measures taken are in their interest.”
He said that the Kingdom provided a package of humanitarian and development aid.
Prince Faisal said that the Kingdom was one of the first countries that contributed and participated, through the framework of the Friends of Sudan Group, in supporting this transitional phase in Sudan.
“This comes from my country’s belief in the importance of activating Sudan’s regional role and providing everything that would protect Sudan and preserve its security,” Prince Faisal added.
He said he appreciated the roles of the US, France, and the UK and their tireless efforts in supporting Sudan under for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.
The Kingdom’s Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan also attended the conference in the French capital, which was part of the Summit on the Financing of African Economies that is attended by more than 40 countries and will continue until Tuesday.


Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 886 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 886 new cases
Updated 17 May 2021

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 886 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 886 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 1,127 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • 9 mosques temporarily closed after some people tested positive for coronavirus

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 12 new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,174.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 886 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 433,980 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 7,892 remain active and 1,377 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 281, followed by Makkah with 250, the Eastern Province with 97, Madinah recorded 63 and Asir confirmed 51 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 1,127 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 418,914.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs temporary closed nine mosques in six regions after some people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed to 1,210 within 100 days, 1,188 of which have reopened after being sterilized.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 163 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.39 million.

 


Saudi Red Crescent Authority declares success in Ramadan plan

Saudi Red Crescent Authority declares success in Ramadan plan
Updated 17 May 2021

Saudi Red Crescent Authority declares success in Ramadan plan

Saudi Red Crescent Authority declares success in Ramadan plan

MAKKAH: The Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) declared the success of its plan during Ramadan by being available in the central region and inside the Grand Mosque in Makkah, with the participation of 500 female and male volunteers who provided more than 49,000 volunteer hours, via the SRCA branch in Makkah, and on the roads leading to it.

SRCA said that during Ramadan, Makkah centers received 9,411 reports, most of which were for cases of sickness with 5,713 reports including respiratory diseases, diabetes, fainting and epilepsy, while accident reports reached 3,698 including car accidents, falls and burns.

SRCA receives reports via the free-toll number 997 or via the “Asefni” smartphone application.

On May 8, SRCA marked World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day by celebrating the efforts of humanitarian workers for “their inspiring role in pushing forward the wheel of development.”

SRCA President Dr. Jalal Al-Owaisi said that the authority was keen to consolidate and spread human values and enhance community awareness. 


Accredited labs to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as flights resume

Accredited labs to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as flights resume
Updated 17 May 2021

Accredited labs to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as flights resume

Accredited labs to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as flights resume
  • More than 11.5 million vaccine doses have been administered so far in Saudi Arabia
  • Fifteen deaths due to complications from COVID-19 were reported, raising the death toll to 7,162

JEDDAH: More than 100 Ministry of Health (MoH) accredited laboratories across Saudi Arabia are ready to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as international flights resume.

Residents of the Kingdom can check the list available at https://covid19.cdc.gov.sa/ar/approved-covid-19-laboratories-ar/private-laboratories-ar/.

After weeks of fluctuating numbers, Saudi Arabia’s daily case counts are finally stabilizing again according to the MoH spokesman, Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly.

With a significant difference between daily case counts and recoveries of late, the MoH’s spokesman confirmed in Sunday’s press conference that the epidemiological curve could start declining if the daily case counts continue to record lower numbers in the next few weeks.

“The best way to ensure the decline is if members of the Saudi community continue to register and receive their COVID vaccine jabs, and the public’s continued adherence to following all health and safety precautionary measures and protocols,” said the spokesman.

More than 11.5 million vaccine doses have been administered so far at a rate of 33 doses per hundred, and 33 percent of the Kingdom’s 34.8 million population has received at least one jab so far.

A total of 825 new cases were reported on Sunday, raising the total number of cases to 433,094.

For the fourth day in a row, the number of recoveries continue to be reported above the 1,000-case mark with 1,028 recoveries reported, raising the total number of cases to 417,787. The Kingdom’s current recovery rate has increased to 96.4 percent.

With the rising recovery rate, there has been a significant decline in the number of active cases, with only 8,145 instances. The number of critical cases still remain a concern for authorities as 45 patients were admitted to ICUs in the past 24 hours, raising the number of critical cases to 1,376.

Of Sunday’s cases, only two regions recorded numbers in the triple digits, with Makkah leading for the first time in months with 263 cases followed by Riyadh with 231 cases. The Northern Borders reported only five cases and Jouf four.

Fifteen deaths due to complications from COVID-19 were reported, raising the death toll to 7,162.

A total of 54,049 new PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of PCR tests in the Kingdom to more than 17.9 million so far.


Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant

Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant
Updated 17 May 2021

Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant

Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant
  • A coronavirus insurance certificate is required for travelers under the age of 18

RIYADH: As travel suspension for Saudis and the opening of land, sea and air ports is lifted starting May 17, some travelers are gearing up to visit the King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for a vacation, while others remain cautious due to the Indian variant of the coronavirus disease.

Ten additional lanes have been installed in the departure area, bringing the total number of lanes to 27, as well as 36 lanes in the arrival area, said Duwaihi Al-Sahli, director of King Fahd Causeway Passports, in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

However, only those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to leave the Kingdom, according to the Saudi authorities. Proof shall be presented via the Tawakkalna app.

A coronavirus insurance certificate is required for travelers under the age of 18.

Travelers will be required to carry any of the health applications approved in the GCC countries, which confirm whether they are vaccinated or have recovered from the virus, Bahrain’s News Agency BNA reported.

A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel should  also be presented at the borders, the report added.

Barak Al-Barrak, owner of a Saudi commercial establishment who was a former partner in an advertising company, said that he used to head to Amwaj Island soon after entering Bahrain for shopping in the Chinese market, and the Laguna Resort located on the island of Muharraq (northeast of Bahrain).

He told Arab News that he will not travel to Bahrain during the current period for two main reasons: “To avoid crowding and for fear of the Indian mutated coronavirus.”

SPEEDREAD

• Ten additional lanes have been installed in the departure area, bringing the total number of lanes to 27, as well as 36 lanes in the arrival area, says senior official at King Fahd Causeway Passports.

• Only those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to leave the Kingdom, according to the Saudi authorities. Proof shall be presented via the Tawakkalna app.

• Travel suspension for Saudis and the opening of Kingdom’s land, sea and air ports will be lifted from May 17.

Sharing the same sentiment, Meshaal Hamdan, a private-sector employee, said that he wants to see new entertainment projects in Bahrain soon, but he ruled out traveling in light of the spread of the Indian COVID-19 variant.

Bahraini journalist Najat Showaiter said that the welcoming campaigns from her country’s citizens to Saudis is an indication of the mutual love and friendship between the two peoples.

“We as Bahrainis welcome our brothers and the Saudi people love us, and we invite them to visit Bahrain,” she said.

She expected the Bahraini markets, especially the commercial malls, to revive. Films and entertainment games for children are likely to attract more arrivals to the country for the purpose of tourism, suggesting the revival of Bahraini restaurants that offer a variety of eastern and western foods.

Popular markets, including the markets of Muharraq and Manama, are usual attractions to Saudi tourists, especially for the food and Bahraini sweets they offer.

Gold markets and the real-estate market in Bahrain are also expected to see a higher turnout from tourists, she said, along with an increase in sales and the movement of real estate trading, along with the high rates of rents, especially in chalets and tourist resorts. She expected hotel rooms to be occupied by no less that 80 percent.

Meanwhile, young Bahrainis launched a tourism app titled “b4bhcom” or Gate of Bahrian, coinciding with the country’s preparations to receive Saudis after the lifting of the travel suspension.

The app allows users to learn about events taking place in the country and current and future projects in Bahrain. It also contributes to highlighting tourist sites, shopping destinations and points of interest. It offers the option for users to create and plan their trips by adding places and events included in their personal itinerary.