Saudi Arabia will be ‘one of the first countries’ to receive COVID-19 vaccines

Saudi Arabia will be ‘one of the first countries’ to receive COVID-19 vaccines
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Updated 12 November 2020

Saudi Arabia will be ‘one of the first countries’ to receive COVID-19 vaccines

Saudi Arabia will be ‘one of the first countries’ to receive COVID-19 vaccines
  • Agreement signed for early supplies; daily total of new confirmed cases in Kingdom dips back below 400

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement to receive early supplies of two or three different vaccines that have reached the final stages of their clinical trials, according to Abdullah Al-Assiri, assistant deputy minister for preventive health.

“Saudi Arabia will be one of the first countries to receive the vaccines,” he said during an interview on Saudia TV on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the daily total of new coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia has dropped below 400 again, to 394. Daily recovery figures have been a steadily increasing and, out of a total of 351,849 confirmed cases, 338,708 patients have recovered. There were an additional 14 COVID-19-related deaths in the country, and the total number of fatalities has reached 5,590.

Riyadh recorded the highest number of new daily infections, 58 cases, followed by Madinah with 44 and Makkah with 29. According to the Ministry of Health, there are 7,557 active cases in the Kingdom, 786 of which are critical. In the past 24 hours, 62,922 polymerase chain reaction tests were conducted.

The ministry urged anyone displaying possible symptoms of coronavirus disease to visit one of its Tetamman (Rest Assured) clinics to be tested for the virus. There are about 235 of the clinics are across the country, and appointments for tests can be booked through the Sehaty app. However, patients can also visit the clinics without appointments if they think they might be infected and are displaying symptoms such as high temperature, shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, or loss of sense of smell and taste.

The ministry has also set up health centers, called Takkad (Make Sure), to cater to people who show no or only mild symptoms of the disease, but think they might have come into contact with someone who was infected.


KSrelief chief meets UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen in Riyadh

KSrelief chief meets UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen in Riyadh
Updated 43 sec ago

KSrelief chief meets UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen in Riyadh

KSrelief chief meets UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen in Riyadh

RIYADH: The head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center met the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen in Riyadh on Sunday.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and David Gressly discussed the humanitarian situation in Yemen and relief efforts made to alleviate the suffering of people in the war-torn country.

Gressly expressed his pride in the strategic partnership with KSrelief and his appreciation for the important and prominent role of the center in Yemen.

He also praised the professional manner in which the center operates to provide aid and implement various humanitarian and relief programs and projects in countries that require them.


Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 19 September 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 535,531
  • A total of 8,661 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced five deaths from COVID-19 and 70 new infections on Sunday.

Of the new cases, 21 were recorded in Riyadh, 19 in Makkah, seven in the Eastern Province, six in Madinah, three in Asir, three in Najran, two in Jazan, one in Tabuk,  one in Al-Jouf, one in Hail, and one in Al-Baha.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 535,531 after 81 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,661 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 40.6 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Coronavirus booster dose ‘unnecessary,’ say Saudi experts

More than 40.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
More than 40.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 19 September 2021

Coronavirus booster dose ‘unnecessary,’ say Saudi experts

More than 40.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
  • New recoveries reported amounted to 77, raising the total number to 535,450

JEDDAH: A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is unnecessary, according to Saudi health experts.

“If the two doses of the vaccine prevent severe illness/staying in hospital/death, it does not make sense for the general population to receive a third dose,” said deputy health minister for preventive health, Dr. Abdullah Assiri.

Assiri, who is also an infectious diseases consultant, added: “At this stage of excellent vaccination coverage, we need to reconsider the rationale and method of laboratory testing for COVID-19, and judge the pandemic only from the perspective of the burden of disease on society.”

The comments came after news of proposed booster shots of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for the general public, and third jabs for people aged 65 and older and other vulnerable groups.


Meanwhile, infectious disease expert, Ahmed Al-Hakawi, said that accelerating demand for approval of a third (booster) dose for everyone was not supported by a study he cited.

FASTFACT

546k

The total number of coronavirus cases in KSA reached 546,479.

Titled “Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine through 6 Months,” the study, published on Sept. 15, was conducted on more than 45,000 participants in 152 sites in six countries.

The study concluded that “through 6 months of follow-up and despite a gradual decline in vaccine efficacy, BNT162b2 had a favorable safety profile and was highly efficacious in preventing COVID-19.”

“The vaccine still provides protection against severe disease even six months after the second dose,” said Al-Hakawi, who is also a hospital epidemiologist in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia recorded 68 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Saturday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 546,479, the Ministry of Health said.

Of Saturday’s cases, 20 were in Makkah, 17 in the Riyadh region and seven in the Eastern Province. Hail and Najran were the regions with the lowest case count, posting just one each.

New recoveries reported amounted to 77, raising the total number to 535,450.

With the high recovery rate, the number of active cases has declined to 2,373, of which 361 are in critical care.

Five people have died in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of deaths to 8,656.

More than 40.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom at the rate of 201,505 a day.

At this rate, Saudi Arabia could have 70 percent of its population fully vaccinated by Oct. 31.

The Ministry of Health said that 587 centers across all regions of the Kingdom processed the inoculations. Those who have not yet received a vaccine were urged to get one.

The ministry renewed its call for citizens and residents to adhere to precautionary measures and to register with the Sehhaty app to receive vaccines.

Meanwhile, testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have helped millions of people since the pandemic outbreak.

Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual.

Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.

Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.


Saudi chef to kings reveals latest recipes for culinary success

As well as developing Arab recipes for Saudi dairy products, Tawfiq Qadri has cooked up more than 3,000 different hot, cold, and pastry meals. (Supplied)
As well as developing Arab recipes for Saudi dairy products, Tawfiq Qadri has cooked up more than 3,000 different hot, cold, and pastry meals. (Supplied)
Updated 19 September 2021

Saudi chef to kings reveals latest recipes for culinary success

As well as developing Arab recipes for Saudi dairy products, Tawfiq Qadri has cooked up more than 3,000 different hot, cold, and pastry meals. (Supplied)
  • 58-year-old Tawfiq Qadri still oozes the same enthusiasm for food preparation as he did as child

MAKKAH: A top Saudi cook hailed as the chef to kings is set to pass on more of his culinary skills and recipes with the release of a new book.

Tawfiq Qadri, who has worked in palace kitchens for a succession of monarchs, is due to finish his third cookbook, “On the Table of the Caliph.”
And the 58-year-old still oozes the same enthusiasm for food preparation as he did as child.
“It all started when I was seven years old. I was fascinated with the sight of my mother in the kitchen, and I used to help in cutting carrots and cucumbers and cleaning rice. I was the only one of 16 brothers and sisters to help her at our home in Madinah,” he told Arab News.
“I joined the scouts during intermediate and high school and was the chef of my classmates at the time. I became famous for cooking the popular Hijazi dishes, which the scouts enjoyed despite my lack of experience.”
After moving to Italy to train as a chef, Qadri’s career took off as he later made a name for himself catering for royals, presidents, and celebrities.
But his rise to fame in the cuisine arts did not get off to a smooth start.
After graduating from high school in Madinah, he got a job at the Saudi Central Bank, an experience which left a bad taste in his mouth. Working in a small office, Qadri felt trapped in an environment he said killed his creative passion to cook.

At the age of 19, just six months into his job, he quit the bank without telling his family and went to stay at his uncle’s hotel. With the help of his relative, and with his parents’ blessing, Qadri enrolled in a bachelor’s degree course at an Italian institute in Sicily, spending two-and-a-half years there as the only Arab student.

BACKGROUND

• After graduating from high school in Madinah, he got a job at the Saudi Central Bank, an experience which left a bad taste in his mouth. Working in a small office, Qadri felt trapped in an environment he said killed his creative passion to cook.

• At the age of 19, just six months into his job, he quit the bank without telling his family and went to stay at his uncle’s hotel. With the help of his relative, and with his parents’ blessing, Qadri enrolled in a bachelor’s degree course at an Italian institute in Sicily, spending two-and-a-half years there as the only Arab student. He also gained a master’s degree and Ph.D. in the US based on his thesis on managing kitchens and tourist facilities.

On returning home, in 1981 he took up employment with the Royal Saudi Navy, based in Riyadh. There, he was head chef and supervisor of the navy officers’ club and would often fly to Toulon in France to join a ship that regularly sailed to Saudi Arabia, working on board as a chef. After four years in the navy, during which time he rose to the rank of sergeant, he moved into military supply management, eventually heading the operation, and organizing budgets for the whole of the Kingdom.
When the Gulf crisis started in 1990, he was commissioned to join the Ministry of Defense and became the chef of the Allied Forces, earning the rank of chief sergeant.
After taking early retirement from the navy, Qadri spent six years with Saudia airline’s catering division, developing a range of dishes, before advising international hotels on food provision and judging in many culinary competitions throughout the Arab world.
While working with Saudia airline, Qadri was featured in a Saudi newspaper article under the headline, “Passengers Love him Before Seeing Him.” On the back of the publicity, he was given responsibility for Hijazi cooking at the palace of the late King Fahd and went on to work for the late King Abdullah, and now King Salman, notably preparing the kitchen during the visit of former US President Barack Obama.
He also gained a master’s degree and Ph.D. in the US based on his thesis on managing kitchens and tourist facilities. As well as developing Arab recipes for Saudi dairy products, Qadri has cooked up more than 3,000 different hot, cold, and pastry meals, and created 42 new recipes. He is also the author of books “Saudi and the Star of the Table,” and “Guide of the Quick Cooking,” with “On the Table of the Caliph” due to be completed soon.


Saudi commerce ministry outlines app for validating discounts

A woman shops for snacks at a supermarket in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
A woman shops for snacks at a supermarket in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
Updated 19 September 2021

Saudi commerce ministry outlines app for validating discounts

A woman shops for snacks at a supermarket in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
  • Establishments need license to offer promotional sales

RIYADH: The Ministry of Commerce has reaffirmed the mechanisms for validating seasonal offers and discounts, outlining its digital solution to the major consumer challenge.

Ministry spokesman Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al-Hussein said that stores need a license to offer discounts and must display it clearly for the consumer.
Other requirements set by the ministry include identifying the discount percentage and the price of the product before and after the reduction. The ministry also monitors prices to ensure that there is no fraud or misleading advertising.
To check offers and discounts, customers can scan the discount barcode on the “Sales” application, he added.
The spokesperson urged consumers to ensure the reliability of the online store through the ministry website or the “Maroof” platform, so that they are not subject to fraud.

Fahd Al-Bogami

“The method of checking the discounts has high reliability, it is no longer a matter of stickers that can be replaced in one way or another. The cuts have become more and more credible than before,” Hajar, a student at Princess Nourah University, told Arab News.
She added that the “Sales” application gives the customer a wide range of options, and all age groups can use it with ease.
Mohammed Mubarak, a former employee of Saudi Aramco, said he was suspicious of discounts offered by some stores, while confirming that he has never used the “Sales” application.

HIGHLIGHT

To check offers and discounts, customers can scan the discount barcode on the ‘Sales’ application. The ministry also monitors prices to ensure that there is no fraud or misleading advertising.

“I was surprised by some unreasonable discounts in many stores,” he told Arab News.
Fahd Al-Bogami, a member of the e-commerce committee in the Riyadh Chamber, stressed the importance of educating consumers about real discounts.
“In order to be sure as a consumer, you have to enter the discount platform and check whether the discount is authorized,” he told Arab News. “It is important to realize that the Ministry of Commerce penalizes any party that places discounts without obtaining the permission to do so.”
Al-Bogami noted the growing adoption of digital technology by service providers, adding that many people can complete their transactions on their phones.
“This is wonderful. This is not only in the commercial sector, but in education, medicine and others,” he said.
“This gives greater opportunities for entrepreneurs on and the consumer to benefit from each other. Challenges are being overcome through digital solutions.”

Decoder

MAROOF

It is an e-platform launched by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Commerce to enable registered online sellers to easily reach large groups of customers. It also gives online shoppers a visualization of the quality of services provided by e-stores, and allows customer evaluation of an e-store or its products.