VOX Cinemas quenching Saudi Arabia’s post-pandemic film thirst

VOX Cinemas quenching Saudi Arabia’s post-pandemic film thirst
Sunday marked the opening of VOX Cinemas’ 11th movie theater in KSA. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 December 2020

VOX Cinemas quenching Saudi Arabia’s post-pandemic film thirst

VOX Cinemas quenching Saudi Arabia’s post-pandemic film thirst
  • Sunday evening marked the Jeddah opening of VOX Cinemas’ 11th movie theater in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Months after lockdown, Saudis have resumed entertainment activities, with venues such as VOX Cinemas promising a safe and secure experience amid brave plans for expansion.
Sunday evening marked the Jeddah opening of VOX Cinemas’ 11th movie theater in Saudi Arabia, further consolidating its ambitious expansion plans across the Kingdom in spite of the pandemic, which placed the country under lockdown for more than three months.
Speaking to Arab News, Mohamed Al-Hashemi, country head of Majid Al-Futtaim Ventures in Saudi Arabia, said that visitor numbers are increasing, and “the main aim nowadays is that visitors come back to cinema with confidence that the place they are visiting is clean and safe.”
He added that since the easing of the lockdown, there are promising indications of growing visitor numbers. Al-Hashemi said the company is the biggest cinema house operator in Saudi Arabia in regard to the number of halls, screens and visitors.
“After each show, we insist on social distancing and have the surfaces cleaned and the seats sterilized. In fact, we take all the precautionary health measures to ensure our visitors have a safe and comfortable cinema experience. This has caused a spending upsurge, but that was a necessity,” he said.
Al-Hashemi said that although cinemas were affected by the pandemic, the effects were not limited to the entertainment sector.
“Like all other companies in the market, the pandemic has affected us, but with the government we are committed to all measures. One hand cannot clap. We have a role to play along with the roles the government is playing to confront the pandemic. Luckily, we bypassed the lockdown stage. Our goal now is to regain people’s confidence in these entertainment and cinema locations. With time, this trust will increase more and more,” he said.
With Saudi’s “thirst” for more cinema experiences, Majid Al-Futtaim’s VOX Cinemas is keen to expand its presence in the Kingdom’s entertainment market, which means reaching cinema fans no matter where they are in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Hashemi said that the more cinemas that are opened, the more job opportunities are created.
“We bring people who are looking for a source of income. We train them, qualify them and then offer them job opportunities. It is a give-and-take equation,” he added.
 


Second doses and safety fears: Popular Saudi doctor posts COVID-19 vaccine video

Second doses and safety fears: Popular Saudi doctor posts COVID-19 vaccine video
Updated 3 min 30 sec ago

Second doses and safety fears: Popular Saudi doctor posts COVID-19 vaccine video

Second doses and safety fears: Popular Saudi doctor posts COVID-19 vaccine video
  • ‘If a person could not get the second dose within 42 days, he or she can still get it after six weeks without having to repeat the first dose,’ says Dr. Nezar

JEDDAH: The latest someone can receive their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine is six weeks after having the first one, a Saudi doctor popular for his COVID-19 social media posts has said.
Infectious diseases consultant Dr. Nezar Bahabri has gained a massive following for his clear and accessible information about the disease, and he tweeted a video to raise awareness about the vaccine as the Kingdom continued its inoculation campaign. 
“If a person, for one reason or another, could not get the second dose within 42 days, he or she can still get it after six weeks without having to repeat the first dose,” he said.
Bahabri, who contracted coronavirus in August and remained under medical care for nearly three weeks, explained that the body began producing antibodies from seven to 10 days after a person received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The consultant said that if someone became infected after receiving the first dose then they should wait for three months before taking another.
“When someone takes the first dose, the antibodies upsurge the body’s immunity to the virus to up to 50 percent, and that can help have less severe symptoms. After the period of 90 days, the infected person can register with the Ministry of Health for vaccination. Tests then can decide if they should take one dose or two.”
In another video he appeared at one of the vaccination centers, accompanying his mother who was receiving her second vaccine shot.
Bahabri, who won an outstanding performance award from the University of British Columbia in 2008, also had advice for those who were undecided about the vaccine.
“Hundreds of thousands of people in Saudi Arabia have received the vaccine over the last month. Thank God, all we heard about them was good and promising.”
He said that more than 20,000 people had volunteered to receive the vaccine three months before the results of its effectiveness were published.
“So far, more than 30 million people around the world have received the vaccine. One should not worry. It has now been nearly six months since the 20,000 people who volunteered to get the vaccine after it was introduced. Most complications occur in four weeks. If the drug was not safe, we could have surely heard about any negative consequences.”
He said that Saudi Arabia’s leadership had set a good example in reassuring people about the vaccine’s safety.
The country on Thursday reported four new COVID-19-related deaths. The death toll has reached 6,342. There were 212 new cases reported, bringing the total to 365,775. There are 2,096 active cases and 326 of these are in a critical condition.
The Ministry of Health said 83 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, there were 39 in the Eastern Province, 35 in Makkah, and 21 in Madinah.
There have been a further 160 recoveries, bringing the total to 357,337.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 11.87 million PCR tests, with 52,105 carried out in the past 24 hours.