First Hajj 2020 daily round-up focuses on health precautions

Ministry of Health spokesman Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Ali. (SPA)
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Updated 30 July 2020

First Hajj 2020 daily round-up focuses on health precautions

  • Ministry of Health spokesman highlights actions taken to protect pilgrims from COVID-19

RIYADH: Saudi authorities are taking all possible precautions to ensure that Hajj is as safe for pilgrims as possible in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Ministry of Health spokesman Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Ali said on Wednesday.

“All the necessary actions and plans have been implemented to ensure the safety of pilgrims, including protocols that are in line with international best practices,” he said during the first daily round-up of developments during Hajj 2020, which was broadcast live on Al-Ekhbariya TV.

Pilgrims are monitored several times each day to check not only for signs of COVID-19 but other illnesses, he added. If a potential case is detected there are a number of options available to confirm a diagnosis, provide care for the patient and ensure that the health of other pilgrims is protected.

Al-Ali said that six hospitals are available to treat pilgrims, one of which is a mobile hospital. In addition there are 51 clinics, 62 field-supervision groups, 200 ambulances and 8,000 healthcare professionals.

Health and security were the main topics during the press conference, which also featured Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, security spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

Hajj began on Tuesday evening and continues until Sunday. Saudi authorities have restricted pilgrim numbers to only a few thousand people who already reside in the Kingdom, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

  • Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation (IPDC) on Wednesday launched the Dialogue Program 2020 among religious leaders and organizations in the Arab world.

KAICIID secretary-general, Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, said the center aims to enhance the culture of dialogue and coexistence, and highlight the value of human diversity.

He said the center also lays the foundations of understanding and collaboration among all religions and cultures, and highlights the importance of building a diverse culture.

The center provides sustainable solutions for today’s challenges, he added.

“Serious dialogue can enhance the role of interreligious institutions, helping to promote a culture of dialogue, coexistence and tolerance in society,” he said. “The message of the center addresses all humankind and not a specific society.”

The terrorist events that ripped through the region were the result of fanaticism and hatred, he said, noting that people of all diverse and multiple backgrounds can coexist peacefully in society.

“Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions. The Document of Madinah included a comprehensive constitution that guides people of different religious backgrounds on how to live together peacefully and practice their religion freely, and, most importantly, enhance the values of coexistence, justice, security and peace among one another,” he added.

Bin Muaammar called on those who have the capability to fight the discourse of extremism, saying that dialogue can enhance “human principles and values such as mercy, respect, tolerance, peace and social solidarity.”

He also urged religious leaders and institutions, as well as policymakers, to promote such values and strengthen comprehensive citizenship.

“Those leaders and institutions can fight and confront the threats facing peaceful coexistence and tolerance, threats that are posed by extreme groups,” he said. “Religious institutions should enhance the culture of common citizenship, each in their society.”

KAICIID contributes to such efforts through its experience and collaboration with relevant institutions around the world.

The Dialogue Program 2020 promotes dialogue, common citizenship and coexistence in the Arab world through cooperation in a range of projects. It also challenges messages of hate locally, nationally and regionally.