COVID-19 vaccination centers to open soon in parts of Saudi Arabia

COVID-19 vaccination centers to open soon in parts of Saudi Arabia
Ninety percent of those registered through the app are between the ages of 20-60 years old. (AFP)
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Updated 22 December 2020

COVID-19 vaccination centers to open soon in parts of Saudi Arabia

COVID-19 vaccination centers to open soon in parts of Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia’s recovery rate is 97.75 percent

JEDDAH: Vaccine centers will soon open in Saudi Arabia’s western region and the Eastern Province, as part of the ongoing COVID-19 inoculation campaign from the Ministry of Health.
More than 440,000 people have signed up through the Sehaty app to receive the coronavirus vaccine, according to the ministry. Ninety percent of those registered through the app are between the ages of 20-60 years old.
The ministry has identified those who should not get the vaccine. They are women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, women who plan on getting pregnant in the next two months, people who suffer from severe allergic reactions that require epinephrine injections, and those who have been infected by the virus in the past 90 days.
It has identified those who would be the first to receive the vaccination. They are obese people with a BMI exceeding 40, those who suffer from immunodeficiencies and/or are taking immunosuppressive drugs and those who suffer from chronic diseases such as asthma, chronic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and those with a history of strokes.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Kingdom reported 168 new cases on Monday.

• The number of active cases has dropped below 3,000.

• There were a further nine deaths due to complications from the virus.

“A quarter of those registered for the vaccine through the Sehaty app were women and we hope that more will register and trust the vaccine,” said Dr. Sami Almudarra, medical director for the ministry’s coronavirus vaccine program.
There were 168 new cases reported on Monday, raising the total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections to 361,178.   The number of active cases has dropped below 3,000 as there are currently 2,958 patients seeking care, 410 of which are in critical care units.
Makkah region reported 45 new cases, Riyadh had 31 and the Eastern Province had 25.
There were 211 recoveries reported on Monday, raising the total number to 352,089. Saudi Arabia’s recovery rate is 97.75 percent.
There were a further nine deaths due to complications from the virus, increasing the death toll to 6,131.
Saudi Arabia continues to monitor and report confirmed cases through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. More than 10.6 million tests have been conducted so far, with a further 36,373 carried out in the past 24 hours.

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 Green Initiative forum

Saudi Green Initiative forum
Updated 40 min 51 sec ago

Saudi Green Initiative forum

Saudi Green Initiative forum

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman opened the Saudi Green Initiative forum in Riyadh place on Saturday, announcing the Kingdom’s new “green” objectives.

The forum will discuss Saudi Arabia's environmental efforts with guests that include high-profile government leaders and international personalities.

"We announce in this Forum the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's roadmap for protecting the environment and confronting climate change. This annual forum will serve as a platform to launch our new environmental initiatives and monitor the impact of the previously announced ones," the Crown Prince said. 

"I am pleased to launch initiatives in the energy sector that will reduce carbon emissions by (278) million tons annually by 2030, thus voluntarily more than doubling the target announced, estimated at (130) million tons annually," he added.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also announced the Kingdom's accession to the Global Methane Pledge, "which aims to reduce methane emissions globally by 30 percent."

The Crown Prince also announced Saudi Arabia’s intention to join the Global Oceans Alliance, the Alliance to Eliminate Plastic Waste in Oceans and Beaches, the Sports for Climate Action Agreement, and to establish a global center for Sustainable Tourism, and a Non-Profit foundation to explore the seas and oceans.

"I look forward to the Middle East Green Initiative Summit, which we will host the day after tomorrow, with the aim of synergizing and coordinating efforts among the countries of the region to develop the plans necessary to reach the Middle East Green Initiative target," he concluded. 

Other Saudi ministers will also be speaking at the forum, exploring specific themes around business and the environment, marine and ocean life, and the oil and gas industry. 

Big corporate icons, including Paddy Padmanathan of ACWA Power and Jasper Graf of Daystar Power US, are also participating in the forum.  


First full Friday prayers at Two Holy Mosques

First full Friday prayers at Two Holy Mosques
Updated 23 October 2021

First full Friday prayers at Two Holy Mosques

First full Friday prayers at Two Holy Mosques
  • Worshippers return to holy cities as restrictions eased

MAKKAH: After more than a year and a half, Muslims worldwide were delighted to see Friday prayers at the Two Holy mosques return to full capacity.

Considered the two holiest sites in Islam, painful images of the mosques devoid of worshippers due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 affected Muslims everywhere, but particularly citizens of Makkah and Madinah.

“It’s a blessing, to walk in the mosque’s pathways and you’re surrounded by people again,” said Abdullah Mahdi, a private-sector worker and longtime resident of the holy city. “Though masked still, it doesn’t really matter, the place is alive with movement and worshippers again.

“It’s truly a sight to behold and to see the Grand Mosque’s courtyard around the Kaaba filled with people on the first Friday after the easing of the restrictions is a sign that it’ll be alright, God-willing.”

Last Saturday, the Ministry of Interior announced the easing of restrictions across the Kingdom, including those affecting the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, which are returning to full operations and capacity.

Deputy Secretary-General for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque Dr. Saad bin Mohammed Al-Muhaimid told Arab News that the Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques had used all of their human and mechanical resources to implement the plan to return to full capacity.

FASTFACTS

• Last Saturday, the Ministry of Interior announced the easing of restrictions across the Kingdom, including those affecting the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, which are returning to full operations and capacity.

• Those working at the Two Holy Mosques had been asked to abide by and enforce the directives issued by the authorities concerned with fighting the coronavirus pandemic to ensure everyone’s safety.

“They did so through an integrated plan of capabilities and services that were harnessed to preserve the safety of the Grand Mosque’s visitors and facilitate the performance of their rites in a spiritual, safe and reassuring atmosphere,” he said.

“Based on the directives of the president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, we have accelerated the pace of work and raised the level of readiness in an effort to provide the Grand Mosque’s visitors with better services and means of comfort.

“We have also doubled our efforts since we started implementing the plan to return to full capacity while achieving the highest-quality standards.”

The deputy secretary-general said that those working at the Two Holy Mosques had been asked to abide by and enforce the directives issued by the authorities concerned with fighting the coronavirus pandemic to ensure everyone’s safety.

The ministry and authorities stressed the importance of visitors adhering to the directives included in the Interior Ministry’s statement by wearing face masks at all times inside the Grand Mosque and booking their Umrah and prayer appointments through the official applications (Eatmarna and Tawakkalna).


Saudi Arabia’s carbon-rich mangroves are key to combating climate change

Saudi Arabia’s carbon-rich mangroves are key to combating climate change
Updated 23 October 2021

Saudi Arabia’s carbon-rich mangroves are key to combating climate change

Saudi Arabia’s carbon-rich mangroves are key to combating climate change
  • Mangrove forests are vital for climate change, as highly productive and biodiversity-rich inter-tidal forests sequester carbon faster than terrestrial forests
  • Saudi Green Initiative starts on Oct. 23-24 and aims to assert the country’s work to achieve change domestically and regionally regarding climate change

JEDDAH: Plans to establish Saudi Arabia’s first national mangrove park are underway to enhance the Kingdom’s efforts in environmental protection and tourism development through vast green spaces.

The plans were announced by the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture. They are part of the ministry’s initiative to add more green spaces and national parks in the country, which currently has 27 national parks.

Mangroves are mainly found off the south-western waters in the Jizan region. They help to protect marine habitats, seagrass, coral reefs, and more from harmful runoffs from passing boats and human waste. 

They are known to residents of the Farasan Islands and Jizan as shura trees, and the area is frequented by residents and visitors all year round.

To further protect mangrove forests, the ministry planted more than 875,000 mangrove trees in the southern regions of the Red Sea coast. 

The first is in a location dubbed Bahar1 and is near the cultural village south of Jizan city where 440,000 trees were planted. There were 435,000 mangrove trees planted in Bahar2 in the town of Al-Sawarmah.

Greenhouse gases drive climate change. 

Mangrove forests are vital for climate change, as highly productive and biodiversity-rich inter-tidal forests sequester carbon faster than terrestrial forests. The more CO2 the mangroves capture, the faster the greenhouse gases are removed from the atmosphere. The distinctive ecosystems also protect shores and can help prevent direct damage in case of storms.

More than a quarter of the world’s mangroves have been lost over the past decade due to artificial intrusions.

The Saudi Green Initiative starts on Oct. 23-24 and aims to assert the country’s work to achieve change domestically and regionally regarding climate change, to build a better future, and improve the quality of life. The country has made significant efforts to protect the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change. Reducing carbon emissions is crucial to slow the impact of climate change and restore environmental balance. 

Ten billion trees will be planted throughout the Kingdom to transform the desert into green land and rehabilitate 40 million hectares of land in the upcoming decades.


Diriyah, Jewel of the Kingdom: DGDA tour guides shine at Expo Dubai Saudi Pavilion

Diriyah, Jewel of the Kingdom: DGDA tour guides shine at Expo Dubai Saudi Pavilion
Updated 23 October 2021

Diriyah, Jewel of the Kingdom: DGDA tour guides shine at Expo Dubai Saudi Pavilion

Diriyah, Jewel of the Kingdom: DGDA tour guides shine at Expo Dubai Saudi Pavilion

Diriyah Gate Development Authority’s talented tour guides are working hard at the Saudi Pavilion during Expo 2020 Dubai to share the history of Diriyah, the birthplace of the Kingdom, the land of kings and heroes where it all began.

The DGDA is proud that seven of the guides from its talented team are currently in Dubai to support the Saudi Pavilion, help drive the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and represent the spirit of Saudi youth.

The pavilion reflects the Kingdom’s past, present and shared future. It soars five stories high, covering an area the equivalent of two football fields, making it the second-largest at the event after the UAE pavilion.

Thanks to its dazzling design features that beam multicolored bursts of light over the surrounding areas, including 8,000 LED floor lights and the world’s largest digital mirror screen, visitors will enjoy a different experience each time they stop by. It is a design that honors four main themes: the Saudi people, the nation’s heritage, opportunity and nature.

The DGDA tour guides will be working in the pavilion for the duration of Expo 2020 Dubai, sharing with visitors the amazing history and culture of the Kingdom, and Diriyah in particular. Their duties include leading public tours of the entire pavilion, guiding school tours, looking after VIP guests and groups, and training the temporary staff and interns working at the pavilion.

Their extensive training in Diriyah has prepared them well for their participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, and their involvement is a unique recognition of their talent, knowledge and passion.

Rahaf Alharbi, one of DGDA’s rising stars and a passionate tour guide at the Saudi Pavilion, said: “It is a great honor for me to be here at Expo 2020 Dubai to represent Saudi Arabia and to tell the world about Diriyah’s rich history. I am looking forward to the whole world learning about the birthplace of the Kingdom, with its unique history and culture. I am proud to be part of this team and truly enjoy the new experiences we can make here.”

The DGDA is leading the transformation of Diriyah into Saudi Arabia’s foremost historical, cultural and lifestyle destination. The authority was established in July 2017 to preserve Diriyah’s history, celebrate its community, and develop the historic UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif into one of the world’s greatest gathering places, at the heart of Saudi Arabian culture and heritage.

The protection and preservation of Saudi history and culture, including the stories of the nation’s forefathers and its physical heritage, is a key pillar of the work of the DGDA. It is running an extensive program to train specialist tour guides to share the rich history of the birthplace of Saudi Arabia. This training can last months or even years, during which trainees are taught about the Kingdom’s history, archaeology and hospitality.


Saudi Arabia’s chief of general staff receives commander of US Central Command

Saudi Arabia’s chief of general staff receives commander of US Central Command
Updated 23 October 2021

Saudi Arabia’s chief of general staff receives commander of US Central Command

Saudi Arabia’s chief of general staff receives commander of US Central Command

RIYADH: Air Chief Marshal Fayyadh bin Hamed Al Ruwaili, chief of the general staff of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces, received Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of US Central Command, and the accompanying US delegation at King Salman Air Base.

During the meeting they discussed aspects of cooperation between the two countries, especially in the defense sector, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

They reviewed the importance of strengthening military cooperation and also discussed issues of common interest with regards to regional security and stability.

The meeting was also attended by a number of senior officers from both sides.