RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Tuesday thanked all those who have asked after his health and wished him well since he was admitted to hospital in Riyadh this week. He is being treated for inflammation of the gallbladder.
He expressed his gratitude via video link from King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center as he chaired a virtual meeting of the Saudi cabinet.
Ministers heard that preparations by government agencies are continuing as part of the efforts to ensure this year’s Hajj season proceeds as safely and securely as possible.
Given the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to global health, severe restrictions have been placed on Hajj this year. Only a few thousand pilgrims who are resident in the Kingdom will be allowed to participate. Rigorous plans are being implemented and precautions put in pace to protect the health and safety of pilgrims, and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the cabinet was told.
Majid Al-Qasabi, the minister of information, told the Saudi Press Agency that ministers also reviewed the latest developments in the pandemic across the country. These included up-to-date statistics about infections and recoveries, the precautionary measures being taken to prevent the spread of the disease, and details of the treatments for those who have tested positive. The cabinet also heard about the ongoing efforts to monitor and follow-up on cases, and the expansion of testing in various regions at specialist laboratories.
It also reviewed the third session of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council in Riyadh. Among the topics discussed by the council were opportunities for cooperation and strategic partnerships, particularly in the economic and development fields, and efforts to strengthen relations between the nations with a view to protecting common interests.
Ministers also touched on the issue of the FSO Safer, an abandoned oil tanker containing more than 1 million barrels of oil, which has moored off the coast of Yemen for years. Its condition has deteriorated to the point that experts fear it might explode or break apart, releasing massive amounts of oil into the Red Sea and causing an environmental disaster. Houthi militias that control the area have repeatedly denied UN inspectors access to the vessel to assess its condition.
In the aftermath of the successful launch by the UAE on Sunday of the Arab World’s first mission to Mars, the cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding for cooperation between the Saudi and Emirati governments in the peaceful exploration of space.