Life is sweet as Saudi children say goodbye to lockdown

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As the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions gets underway, people are cautiously getting back to familiar vacation routines, such as shopping and barbecues by the sea or in parks. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
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As the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions gets underway, people are cautiously getting back to familiar vacation routines, such as shopping and barbecues by the sea or in parks. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 01 June 2020

Life is sweet as Saudi children say goodbye to lockdown

  • Entertainment centers and children’s play areas, as well as cinemas, will remain closed until June 20

JEDDAH: After more than two months in lockdown, families and children in Saudi Arabia are enjoying a return to normal activities as coronavirus restrictions are eased around the Kingdom.

But while some parents have lingering worries about their children’s health, for youngsters it is a different story.
Eight-year-old Sara Issam, of Makkah, told Arab News that she was excited to finally visit a nearby mini-market with her elder brother as she used to do every Eid. “I had to wear a face mask and be careful where I put my hands, but I was happy to buy all those sweets using my Eidiyah (money gifted to children in Eid),” she told Arab News.
From Sunday, children under 15 will be allowed entry to public areas, such as malls, restaurants and cafes.
However, entertainment centers and children’s play areas, as well as cinemas, will remain closed until June 20.

I want to go to the playground, the park, the toyshop and to play with my friends. I also want to go traveling.

Yahya

As the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions gets underway, people are cautiously getting back to familiar vacation routines, such as shopping, barbecues by the sea or in parks, exchanging family visits, traveling around the Kingdom and desert camping.
With children now allowed on family outings, some parents worry about safety, saying it will be difficult to keep them in quarantine if they fall ill.
However, three-year-old Yahya told Arab News that he was “sad to be kept at home” because of coronavirus and there are many places he missed.
“I want to go to the playground, the park, the toyshop and to play with my friends. I also want to go traveling,” he said.

HIGHLIGHTS

• After more than two months in lockdown, families and children in Saudi Arabia are enjoying a return to normal activities.

• As the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions gets underway, people are cautiously getting back to familiar vacation routines.

• Some parents worry about safety, saying it will be difficult to keep them in quarantine if they fall ill.

Yahya’s mother, Rawan Najjar, from Jeddah, said: “I intend to take him out but with proper precautions and as long as I know that he understands what is going on.”  Other families say that as long as the current phase is experimental and under constant review, they will stay home.
For nine-year-old Ayham, from Jeddah, quarantine has been a happy experience.
“We played games together as a family, I also learned English and French on a mobile app, I fasted for the first time in Ramadan and learned to read the Qur’an,” he said.
“I also read the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ books, and another Arabic book, and chatted and studied with my friends through videoconferencing. But I missed swimming in the sea, going to the supermarket to buy food for the house and shopping for books.” Ayham’s mother, Haneen Maher, said that she is reluctant to take her children out.

As a mother, I fear for my children’s safety and worry about taking them to public places.

Haneen Maher

“I don’t think we should get too excited with easing the restrictions. As a mother, I fear for my children’s safety and worry about taking them to public places,” she told Arab News. Maher said that she would take her children out for fresh air, but only inside the family car.
“We went to Jeddah Corniche and to a public park with our snacks, but the children were not allowed to get out of the car. I know they want their freedom back,
but they understand the situation,” she said.
Musab Allan agrees, allowing his children out only in the early morning “in addition to visits to grandparents twice a month.”
Families with common or chronic health issues such as asthma are also cautious about leaving the house amid the pandemic.
Salma, 23, said: “I can see how bored my younger siblings are, but my mother insists nobody leave the house until coronavirus is no longer there. As a family with weak immune system history, this is the best option for us.”
Other parents looked for different options, avoiding closed areas such as malls and restaurants and, instead, visiting open spaces such as the Corniche and other natural locations.


Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2020

Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

  • COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia continue to fall, officials say

JEDDAH: Pilgrims who took part in this year’s Hajj must continue wearing electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.

The bracelet is designed to monitor pilgrims’ adherence to quarantine, as well as monitoring and recording their health status through the “Tatamman” app.
Pilgrims were required to quarantine before embarking on the Hajj and wore the bracelets to ensure they were obeying the self-isolation rules as part of strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The country continues to experience a decline in COVID-19 cases. Recorded infections remain below the 2,000 mark for the 10th day in a row. The Kingdom reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the number of those infected to 280,093 so far.
There are currently 35,091 active cases and six patients were admitted to critical care units, raising the number to 2,017. There were 32 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,949.
There were 1,972 new recoveries recorded, raising the total number of recoveries to 242,053.
More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. The total number of PCR tests conducted to date exceeds 3.47 million.

INNUMBERS

280,093 COVID-19 cases

242,053 Recoveries

35,091 Active cases

2,949 Total deaths

3.47m PCR tests

The Ministry of Health has been carrying out daily visits to health institutions in order to assess their level of commitment to anti-coronavirus measures, such as ensuring that staff adhere to social distancing, wear masks, and adopt the health practices and crisis management mechanisms recommended by authorities to protect patients and staff.
Teams have been dispatched to supervise the compliance of health facilities’ quarantine centers across Saudi Arabia and stepped up their visits to government and private hospitals to ensure their compliance with health protocols, sample transfers and staff testing as well as ensuring that all routine surgeries are stopped.
More than 5,000 violations have been recorded and violators were referred to committees. More than 150 facilities were temporarily shut down by the ministry until the proper protocols were implemented and the violations were fixed. A number of institutions were able to resume operations after settling fines.