Vaccine sign-ups ‘could mean end of pandemic,’ says top official

Vaccine sign-ups ‘could mean end of pandemic,’ says top official
In this photo taken with a slow shutter speed, vehicles pass in front of the landmark Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP)
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Updated 22 December 2020

Vaccine sign-ups ‘could mean end of pandemic,’ says top official

Vaccine sign-ups ‘could mean end of pandemic,’ says top official
  • Saudi Arabia’s residents will be given free vaccinations after three-phase testing of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine was announced, which showed strong immune responses and continuous antibodies

JEDDAH: More than 350,000 people in Saudi Arabia have registered to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as the Kingdom’s rollout enters its third day.
In an interview with Al-Arabiya, Assistant Deputy Minister for Preventive Medicine Dr. Abdullah Asiri said that registration for the vaccine are increasing across the Kingdom, as well as the number of people receiving doses.
“We’re reaching our maximum capacity in a few days’ time,” he said, adding: “We’ll be then expanding to the western region and Eastern Province, then to the rest of the Kingdom.”
Asiri said that the second phase of the rollout will begin once authorities assess the number of registered high-risk group participants from the first phase, and ensure stable supply chains to deliver further vaccines.
“We expect that it will take one to two months in order to provide the vaccines for the high-risk groups before moving to the next phase,” he said.
Asiri said there is a “high” chance of registering a second vaccine before the end of the year, and that the Kingdom is also expecting to roll out the rest of the vaccines before March next year, following approval by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

FASTFACTS

• Saudi Arabia records 158 new infections on Saturday.

• There are 3,014 active cases, 425 of whom are critical.

• Authorities reported 149 recoveries, raising the total number to 351,722.

He urged the importance of increasing herd immunity to 70 percent when a sufficient number of people in the community receive the vaccine or contract the disease.
“Once we’ve reached that level, we might announce the end of the pandemic and possibly reduce or remove measures all together,” Asiri said.
Saudi Arabia’s residents will be given free vaccinations after three-phase testing of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine was announced, which showed strong immune responses and continuous antibodies.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced 158 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, raising the total number over the course of the pandemic to 360,848.
There are 3,014 active cases, 425 of whom are critical.
In a rare occurrence for the Kingdom, the number of recoveries recorded on Saturday was fewer than the number of confirmed cases. Authorities reported 149 recoveries, raising the total number to 351,722. The Kingdom’s recovery rate remains steady at 97.4 percent.
There were 11 new virus-related deaths, raising the total mortality rate to 6,112.
More than 10.6 million polymerase chain reaction tests have been conducted in the Kingdom to date, after Saturday saw 33,676 tests completed around the Kingdom.

The Kingdom vs. COVID-19
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's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir

Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir
Updated 14 min 15 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir

Saudi Arabia's crown prince receives call from Qatar emir

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
During the call, Sheikh Tamim congratulated the crown prince on the advent of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Prince Mohammed also exchanged well wishes on the occasion.


Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases
Updated 13 April 2021

Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 8 COVID-19 deaths, 951 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 608 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 389

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded eight new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 6,773.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 951 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 400,228 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 8,820 remain active and 962 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 389, followed by Makkah with 212, the Eastern Province with 144, Asir recorded 38 and Madinah confirmed 32 cases.

The ministry also announced that 608 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 361,813.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 137 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 2.95 million.


Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen

Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen
Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber and Yemeni Electricity Minister Anwar Mohammed Kalshat finalize an oil grant deal in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 15 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen

Saudi Arabia to supply oil derivates in Yemen
  • Kalshat thanked the Kingdom for its continuous support to his country and people

RIYADH: Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber, who is also the chief of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY), signed an agreement with Yemeni Electricity Minister Anwar Mohammed Kalshat, to supply oil derivates to operate more than 80 power stations in Yemen in collaboration with the country’s government.
The Saudi oil derivates grant worth $422 million will help support Yemen’s economy and develop the country’s infrastructure.
Kalshat thanked the Kingdom for its continuous support to his country and people.  Al-Jaber said the grant aims to support the Yemeni government overcome energy crisis and create job opportunities.


Saudia Airlines to trial IATA travel pass on flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah

Saudia Airlines to trial IATA travel pass on flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah
Updated 13 April 2021

Saudia Airlines to trial IATA travel pass on flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah

Saudia Airlines to trial IATA travel pass on flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah
  • The trial will begin on April 19 and will continue until mid May
  • It will allow travelers to create digital passports to ensure all government health requirements are met

JEDDAH: Saudia Airlines announced on Monday that it will trial the digital travel and health pass developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It will start on April 19 on the Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah route.
The pass is a mobile app that helps passengers to simply and securely manage their travel information and documents, and comply with any official precautionary requirements to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In addition to flight details and personal information, including passport data, the app can also store verified COVID-19 test results and proof of vaccination. It also includes an option to securely share required information with testing labs or airlines.
According to IATA, users need not worry about the security of their data as it remains confidential and is stored in an encrypted form locally, on the phone. If app is deleted, so is all of the user’s data that is stored in it.
The aim is to help ensure passengers have a safe and seamless travel experience, as part of the efforts to ensure a safe return to international travel and support the recovery of the aviation sector from the effects of the pandemic. During the trial and testing process, IATA will work to develop the app for use across the airline’s network.
“This is great news. I hope it gets approved and applied to all international flights,” Abdullah Al-Muhsin, form Riyadh, told Arab News.
“As a vaccinated individual, this will make it much easier for me to prove my immunity. This step … invites people to get vaccinated and also ensures health requirements are met.”
Turki Khalaf, also from Riyadh, told Arab News: “Anything that would make life easier and reduces costs is good.
“I hope that the next step is our travel pass becomes vital too, and we become free of the anxiety every time we go to the airport, fearing that little note might get lost, stolen or damaged.”
The trial will continue until May 17. Travelers are encouraged to use the app but it is not a requirement. During the trial period passengers must still carry traditional documentation, printed or in digital form, that shows the result of a PCR test by an authorized clinic, as immigration and health authorities might require it. In addition, the travel pass does not replace existing travel or entry requirements in Saudi Arabia, including possession of a valid passport and visa, if applicable. Visit www.saudia.com/travel-pass for more information.


Saudi female elected first president of Digital Cooperation Organization

Saudi female elected first president of Digital Cooperation Organization
KSA’s Deema Alyahya is the first secretary-general of DCO. (SPA)
Updated 13 April 2021

Saudi female elected first president of Digital Cooperation Organization

Saudi female elected first president of Digital Cooperation Organization
  • It is estimated that by 2025 the global digital economy will be worth $23 trillion with a GDP share of 24.3 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia was elected president of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) and Saudi national Deemah Alyahya was appointed the first secretary-general of the organization during its first meeting on Monday.
The organization also approved the accession of Nigeria and Oman to the organization as founding members.
The first five members of DCO included Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan.
The seven member states constitute an economic bloc worth $2 trillion of the global gross domestic product.
The first meeting was chaired by Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha. Houlin Zhao, secretary-general of the International Communication Union, GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf, World Economic Forum President Borge Brende and representatives of different UN programs also attended the meeting.
The meeting approved several initiatives including establishment of a center to boost coordination on transfer of data, women’s empowerment and promotion of small and medium enterprises with a focus on digital transformation.
The DCO aims to strengthen collaboration among member nations as they adapt to a global economy increasingly defined by technological innovation.
Through this initiative, the member states could establish solid cooperation in the emerging fields of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, IoT, big data, 5G, cloud computing, and blockchain.
It is estimated that by 2025 the global digital economy will be worth $23 trillion with a GDP share of 24.3 percent. This provides the DCO with a great opportunity to build a platform for their tech-savvy youth, women, entrepreneurs, and indigenous industry to flourish and compete with their global contemporaries and boost their digital competitiveness.
In addition, member states can harness their expertise and share experience to strengthen efforts for preparing for global crises such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.