Saudi Arabia announces 16 more deaths from COVID-19 as restrictions partially eased

The health ministry urged citizens and residents to abide by measures to prevent the spread of the virus as the Kingdom starts to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Thursday. (SPA)
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Updated 29 May 2020

Saudi Arabia announces 16 more deaths from COVID-19 as restrictions partially eased

  • The health ministry announced 3,531 new cases of recovery
  • Saudi Arabia will see a partial ease in coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Thursday

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has issued a reminder that people must act responsibly even though lockdown measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic have been eased, stressing that the disease still poses a significant risk to lives.

“The pandemic continues, and the virus is present. None of us wants to lose anyone, so do not (risk hurting) yourself or transmitting the virus to your parents and children because of recklessness and negligence,” said ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly. “We are tasked with protecting precious lives, and we must fulfill our duty to adhere to healthy behaviors.”

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The total number of coronavirus cases in KSA reached 80,185.

Saudi authorities launched a detailed timetable on Monday for a three-stage easing of coronavirus restrictions, designed to introduce a return to normal life in the Kingdom in less than a month. But Al-Aly stressed that all areas of the Kingdom will be constantly monitored and regularly evaluated, and the Health Ministry may consider a return to stricter precautionary measures if necessary.

“As long as a pandemic exists, waves may occur at certain rates — it is expected to return in waves. We hope for low levels at acceptable rates. The risk is that the waves may be too high or difficult to be contained,” he said, adding that people must remember to follow social distancing guidelines, maintain personal hygiene and wear face masks as instructed. The Kingdom recorded 16 new COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday, raising the total to 441.

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The total number of active cases in Saudi Arabia reached 25,191.

There were 1,644 new cases were reported in the Kingdom, meaning 80,185 people have now contracted the disease. There are 25,191 active cases.

The Health Ministry also announced that 3,531 more patients had recovered from coronavirus, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 54,553.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 770,696 tests for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah confirmed that Umrah is still suspended at the moment, adding that the decision will reviewed regularly as the situation develops.


Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. The 86-year-old is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. (Supplied)
Updated 15 August 2020

Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

  • The Syrian Qur’an writer, regarded as one of the world’s finest calligraphers, is on the road to recovery following his recent hospital admission

MAKKAH: Syrian calligrapher Uthman Taha is in good health and recovering at home after a 13-day stay in a hospital where he was treated for what he and his wife initially suspected to be the novel coronavirus COVID-19, although he ultimately tested negative for the virus.

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. His wife, Fatimah Umm Al-Nour, said Taha had a chest infection during his stay at the hospital and stressed that he had been “careful and took all the precautionary measures” and that he had not left the house for five months before his hospital visit.
The 86-year-old calligrapher is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. She praised his doctors, who have consistently checked in with the couple since Taha returned home, and added that she has tested negative for COVID-19 too.
Taha is regarded as one of the most skilled calligraphers in the Arab world. Al-Nour told Arab News that he continues to practice calligraphy daily.
Taha, who has written the Qur’an 12 times at the King Fahd Complex, was born in 1934 and attended school in Aleppo. His father was also a skilled calligrapher, who used the Ruq’ah script, and Taha studied with several of Syria’s finest calligraphers including Mohammed Al-Mawlawi, Mohammed Al-Khatib, Hussein Al-Turki, and Ibrahim Al-Rifai.
When he moved to Damascus for university, Taha began to learn other scripts, including Thuluth, Naskh (in which he is now considered a master), and Farsi. He received his calligraphy certificate from master calligrapher Hamed Al-Amadi in 1973.
He arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1988, and began work as a calligrapher at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. He writes the Qur’an in the Ottoman script, and copies of his work have been distributed throughout the Islamic world.
What makes Taha’s work unique is that each page of the Qur’an that he writes concludes at the end of a verse. The secret, he explains, is to simplify the words — which is the origin of the Kufic script in which the Qur’an has been written since the days of Prophet Muhammad’s companions — keeping the letters close to one another.
Taha spent years perfecting his technique of evenly distributing the words in every line so that the space between the lettering is consistent throughout every page of every book, which means eliminating many of the script combinations that make such consistency difficult.
He explained to Arab News that when he is working on his Qur’an calligraphy he is transported: “When I begin writing the Holy Qur’an, I resort to solitude to allow myself to be invested in the verses and their interpretation, forgetting about the world around me,” he said. “I wish the verses about Jannah (heaven) would never end, and my hand trembles when I write the verses about Jahannam (hell).”