Saudi Arabia to gradually resume Umrah pilgrimage from Oct. 4

Saudi Arabia to gradually resume Umrah pilgrimage from Oct. 4
Cleaners wear protective face masks as they sweep the floor of the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 23 September 2020

Saudi Arabia to gradually resume Umrah pilgrimage from Oct. 4

Saudi Arabia to gradually resume Umrah pilgrimage from Oct. 4
  • Visitors from outside the Kingdom will be allowed from Nov. 1
  • The decision will be subject to continuous evaluation based on COVID-19

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it would start allowing pilgrims to perform Umrah in gradual stages, while taking the necessary precautions.
The Ministry of Interior said the decision was made after assessing the developments of the coronavirus and in response to the desire of Muslims around the world to perform the ritual.
The first phase of the gradual return will include allowing citizens and expatriates from within the Kingdom to perform Umrah at a capacity of 30 percent from Oct. 4. This is the equivalent of 6,000 pilgrims per day.
The second phase will increase the capacity of the Grand Mosque to 75 percent, which would include 15,000 pilgrims and 40,000 worshippers a day from Oct. 18.
In the third phase, pilgrims from abroad would be allowed to perform Umrah as of Nov. 1 with at full capacity of 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 worshippers per day.
The fourth stage will see the Grand Mosque return to normal, when all the COVID-19 risks have gone away.
The entry of pilgrims, worshippers and visitors will be regulated through an application called “I’tamarna.” 
The app is to be launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, with the aim of enforcing health standards and making it easier for pilgrims to book their journeys.
The Ministry of Interior called on all people attending the holy sites to adhere to the preventive measures, wear face masks, maintain a safe distances from others, and refrain from physical contact.
The ministry said Saudi Arabia wants to “empower pilgrims, both from inside and outside the Kingdom, to be able to perform “the ritual in a safe and healthy manner,” while protecting them from the threats of the pandemic.”

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How Saudi Arabia acted swiftly and coordinated a global response to fight the coronavirus, preventing a far worse crisis at home and around the world

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Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 535,373
  • A total of 8,651 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced six deaths from COVID-19 and 75 new infections on Friday.

Of the new cases, 18 were recorded in Makkah, 15 in Riyadh, seven in Madinah, seven in the Eastern Province, six in Jazan, five in Tabuk, three in Najran, three in Hail, two in Asir, two in the Northern Borders region, one in Al-Jouf, and one in Al-Baha.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 535,373 after 64 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,651 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 40.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum

Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum

Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum
  • Event is part of project to develop ministry’s internal and external communications to meet the requirements of modern media applications and practices

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Defense held its first Strategic Communication Forum on Thursday in Riyadh. The aim was to engage the ministry’s communication staff across the Kingdom with its targeted operating model, to help achieve the objectives of its transformation program.

The event, which took place under the patronage of Khalid Al-Biyari, assistant minister of defense for executive affairs, also formed part of the ministry’s project to develop its internal and external communications to meet the requirements of modern media applications and practices.

The forum included a number of workshops, presented by Prince Ahmed bin Salman Applied Media Academy, focusing on communications-related subjects such as creative content creation, video production for social media and event management. The participants included officials and communication specialists from the Saudi Armed Forces, joint forces and the military’s Health Services Department.

Al-Biyari said during the forum that the ministry views strategic communication as a crucial approach to achieving excellence in performance.

“Adding strategic value to communications raises our media practices to a more advanced level in terms of planning the dissemination of key messages,” he said. “The rapid and frequent advancements in technology make it inevitable that all organizations, not only the Ministry of Defense, must think of communication with audiences strategically.”

Ahmed Ali Asiri, the deputy minister for strategic affairs and a keynote speaker at the event, stressed the importance of strategic communications to the ministry’s media activities. He said it is imperative for all employees to receive updated information accurately and in a timely manner, to ensure the quality and efficiency of operations.

He added that strategic communication is vital to send the right messages about the work of the ministry.

Abdullrahman Al-Sultan, the ministry’s director-general of strategic communications and media, gave a presentation about the role of his directorate, its organizational structure and the strategy behind its operating model.


Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call

Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call

Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call

NEOM: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in a phone call on Thursday with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
The pair discussed bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Spain and ways to enhance them.


Saudi aid agency KSrelief delivers food aid to Mali, medical support to Uruguay

Saudi aid agency KSrelief delivers food aid to Mali, medical support to Uruguay
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi aid agency KSrelief delivers food aid to Mali, medical support to Uruguay

Saudi aid agency KSrelief delivers food aid to Mali, medical support to Uruguay

BAMAKO: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center recently launched a project to distribute food aid to the poor in Mali.

An event to mark the distribution was attended by Saudi ambassador to Mali Khalid Al-Khalid, a KSrelief team and a number of Malian officials.

The aid includes 15,038 bags of rice, weighing 752 tons. It will be distributed to a number of Malian regions, benefiting 120,304 individuals.

It comes within the framework of humanitarian and relief projects being implemented by the Kingdom, through KSrelief, for countries and peoples around the world.

Meanwhile, KSrelief delivered medical and preventive assistance to Uruguay in order to help the country combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of KSrelief, Saudi Ambassador to Uruguay Eyad bin Ghazi Hakim officially handed over the support in the presence of Uruguayan Minister of Public Health Daniel Salinas.

Salinas said that Uruguay has “benefited greatly” from Saudi assistance in its fight against the pandemic.


Saudi Arabia raises awareness on World Patient Safety Day

Saudi Arabia raises awareness on World Patient Safety Day
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi Arabia raises awareness on World Patient Safety Day

Saudi Arabia raises awareness on World Patient Safety Day

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has joined the world in celebrating World Patient Safety Day 2021.

The Saudi Patient Safety Center said that the 72nd World Health Assembly, affiliated with the World Health Organization, adopted in May 2019 a global action on patient safety, which guarantees celebrating a world day on patient safety each year.

The SPSC noted that this year saw the inauguration of an awareness campaign under the theme “safe maternal and newborn care,” which aims at raising community awareness on the safety of mothers and newborns.

It also aims to support the best health practices to reduce risks and deaths that can be avoided during delivery.