Airlines report huge demand from stranded expats wishing to return to Saudi Arabia

Domestic flights had resumed and citizens and residents were able to travel without getting tested. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 16 October 2020

Airlines report huge demand from stranded expats wishing to return to Saudi Arabia

  • Health Ministry reports 472 new COVID-19 cases, 507 recoveries, 19 deaths

MAKKAH: A large number of expats in the Indian subcontinent say they want to return to the Kingdom, a Saudia airlines official said as the country resumed international flights to 20 cities.
In line with the directions of the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation travelers can now fly to Amman, Dubai, Tunis, Cairo, Alexandria, Khartoum, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Paris, Washington, DC, Islamabad, Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.
The company source said domestic flights had resumed and citizens and residents were able to travel without getting tested. However, the scale of the operation was affected due to social distancing measures.
The source said many expats had expressed a wish to return, especially from the Indian subcontinent in India and Pakistan.
The source also said the Ultraviolet C light sanitization process has been added to the aircraft’s cleaning protocol. “Airplanes are sanitized after each trip, as are all the airports’ halls and rooms.”
Field teams are working around the clock and are handling the sanitization operations on a daily basis, using eco-friendly products in line with the highest international health and safety standards, he added.
“The sanitizing operations cover doors, gates, walls, waiting seats, passport check points, luggage scanners and carts, restrooms and everything travelers touch to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”
Saudi Arabia partially lifted the suspension of international flights from Sept. 15, six months after travel restrictions were imposed because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
It will end all restrictions on air, land and sea transport at some point after Jan. 1 next year, the Interior Ministry said, on a date to be announced in December. The airline normally flies to more than 85 destinations worldwide.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced 19 new COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday. The death toll now stands at 5,127. There were 472 new cases reported in the Kingdom, meaning 341,062 people had now contracted the disease. There were 8,608 active cases, and 829 of them are in a critical condition.
According to the Ministry of Health, Madinah recorded the highest number of cases in the Kingdom with 83, while Makkah reported 38, and Riyadh 25.
In addition, 507 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 327,327.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 7,214,793 PCR tests, with 52,966 carried out in the past 24 hours.

Related


Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

Updated 36 min 6 sec ago

Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

JEDDAH: Six international organizations have completed two studies on e-learning in the Kingdom and praised its efforts in providing a rapid response, multiple options and continuous improvement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The studies involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.
The center said that the global organizations completed two comprehensive studies on the experience of public and higher education in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic, with the aim of documenting and studying the reality of the experience and coming up with initiatives to develop e-learning practices in accordance with current global practices and standards.
The studies were conducted with the participation of students, faculty members, teachers, parents and school leaders.
The number of participants in the public education study reached 318,000, while the number of participants in the higher education study reached 24,000.
The first study was prepared by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), with the participation of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Quality Matters (QM), the UNESCO Institute of Information Technologies in Education (IITE), the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) in the US.
The second study was prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with the cooperation of the Harvard Graduate School
of Education.
In the studies, reference comparisons were made with more than 193 countries. The two studies showed the Kingdom’s distinction in the diversity of options, including, for example, electronic content and satellite channels available for e-learning in public education.

NUMBER

342k

The studies on e-learning involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.

The percentage of countries that succeeded in providing these at the national level was only 38 percent.
The study conducted by the OECD and the Harvard Graduate School of Education included a comparison of the Kingdom’s response to education during the COVID-19 pandemic with 37 member states.
The results showed the Kingdom’s progress in 13 out of 16 indicators on the average of
these countries.
The study also revealed that teachers received significant support to overcome obstacles to e-learning.
The study of public education indicated that there was a clear strategy for the Ministry of Education to reopen schools in the Kingdom and address any issues.
OLC hailed the efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Education in dealing with the crisis by providing a variety of options for e-learning, and the quick response to the pandemic and immediate shift to remote instruction.
The two studies recommended 71 proposed development initiatives for public education and 78 proposed development initiatives for higher education.
The National Center for e-Learning is working in coordination with the Ministry of Education to present the initiatives and begin their implementation.
The center announced that the organizations that conducted the studies would publish their results and complete the second phase at the end of the current semester.