Saudi scientific organization launches first observatory to monitor and anticipate future development in Kingdom

Saudi scientific organization launches first observatory to monitor and anticipate future development in Kingdom
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Updated 15 April 2021

Saudi scientific organization launches first observatory to monitor and anticipate future development in Kingdom

Saudi scientific organization launches first observatory to monitor and anticipate future development in Kingdom

RIYADH: The Asbar Center for Studies, Research and Communications announced the launch of the Asbar Observatory on Development, the first of its kind in monitoring and anticipating future development in the Kingdom.
Established in 1994, the Asbar Center is a scientific organization dedicated to conducting studies and research on development and policies.
Dr. Fahad Al-Orabi Al-Harthi, president of the Asbar Center, said the new observatory is one of the center’s initiatives. 
“The idea of launching the observatory comes within the framework of the center’s efforts to keep pace with developments witnessed in various fields in the Kingdom, in order to achieve its ambitious Vision 2030,” he said.
Through the observatory, Al-Harthi noted, the Asbar Center seeks to build a national system that contributes, in cooperation with the responsible authorities, to monitoring development needs and providing information to authorities.
Al-Harthi also said the observatory will assist decision-makers in shaping life in Saudi Arabia and anticipating its future through foresight tools. In preparation for a pioneering developmental journey that supports changes, the observatory will also anticipate future opportunities and challenges by analyzing their effects and developing innovative solutions to them.
“The mechanism of the Asbar Observatory project relies on the work of local and international development indicators,” Al-Harthi said.
“The observatory will focus on monitoring development and issuing reports to the competent authorities on progress, social innovation, sustainable development and social responsibility. It will also issue future forward-looking studies.”
Al-Harthi said he hopes the Asbar Observatory will enhance the Kingdom’s presence in various global fields while maintaining its distinguished international position.


Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 886 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 886 new cases
Updated 17 May 2021

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 886 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 886 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 1,127 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • 9 mosques temporarily closed after some people tested positive for coronavirus

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 12 new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,174.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 886 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 433,980 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 7,892 remain active and 1,377 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 281, followed by Makkah with 250, the Eastern Province with 97, Madinah recorded 63 and Asir confirmed 51 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 1,127 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 418,914.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs temporary closed nine mosques in six regions after some people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed to 1,210 within 100 days, 1,188 of which have reopened after being sterilized.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 163 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.39 million.

 


Saudi Red Crescent Authority declares success in Ramadan plan

Saudi Red Crescent Authority declares success in Ramadan plan
Updated 17 May 2021

Saudi Red Crescent Authority declares success in Ramadan plan

Saudi Red Crescent Authority declares success in Ramadan plan

MAKKAH: The Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) declared the success of its plan during Ramadan by being available in the central region and inside the Grand Mosque in Makkah, with the participation of 500 female and male volunteers who provided more than 49,000 volunteer hours, via the SRCA branch in Makkah, and on the roads leading to it.

SRCA said that during Ramadan, Makkah centers received 9,411 reports, most of which were for cases of sickness with 5,713 reports including respiratory diseases, diabetes, fainting and epilepsy, while accident reports reached 3,698 including car accidents, falls and burns.

SRCA receives reports via the free-toll number 997 or via the “Asefni” smartphone application.

On May 8, SRCA marked World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day by celebrating the efforts of humanitarian workers for “their inspiring role in pushing forward the wheel of development.”

SRCA President Dr. Jalal Al-Owaisi said that the authority was keen to consolidate and spread human values and enhance community awareness. 


Accredited labs to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as flights resume

Accredited labs to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as flights resume
Updated 17 May 2021

Accredited labs to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as flights resume

Accredited labs to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as flights resume
  • More than 11.5 million vaccine doses have been administered so far in Saudi Arabia
  • Fifteen deaths due to complications from COVID-19 were reported, raising the death toll to 7,162

JEDDAH: More than 100 Ministry of Health (MoH) accredited laboratories across Saudi Arabia are ready to provide Saudi travelers with pre-travel PCR tests as international flights resume.

Residents of the Kingdom can check the list available at https://covid19.cdc.gov.sa/ar/approved-covid-19-laboratories-ar/private-laboratories-ar/.

After weeks of fluctuating numbers, Saudi Arabia’s daily case counts are finally stabilizing again according to the MoH spokesman, Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly.

With a significant difference between daily case counts and recoveries of late, the MoH’s spokesman confirmed in Sunday’s press conference that the epidemiological curve could start declining if the daily case counts continue to record lower numbers in the next few weeks.

“The best way to ensure the decline is if members of the Saudi community continue to register and receive their COVID vaccine jabs, and the public’s continued adherence to following all health and safety precautionary measures and protocols,” said the spokesman.

More than 11.5 million vaccine doses have been administered so far at a rate of 33 doses per hundred, and 33 percent of the Kingdom’s 34.8 million population has received at least one jab so far.

A total of 825 new cases were reported on Sunday, raising the total number of cases to 433,094.

For the fourth day in a row, the number of recoveries continue to be reported above the 1,000-case mark with 1,028 recoveries reported, raising the total number of cases to 417,787. The Kingdom’s current recovery rate has increased to 96.4 percent.

With the rising recovery rate, there has been a significant decline in the number of active cases, with only 8,145 instances. The number of critical cases still remain a concern for authorities as 45 patients were admitted to ICUs in the past 24 hours, raising the number of critical cases to 1,376.

Of Sunday’s cases, only two regions recorded numbers in the triple digits, with Makkah leading for the first time in months with 263 cases followed by Riyadh with 231 cases. The Northern Borders reported only five cases and Jouf four.

Fifteen deaths due to complications from COVID-19 were reported, raising the death toll to 7,162.

A total of 54,049 new PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of PCR tests in the Kingdom to more than 17.9 million so far.


Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant

Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant
Updated 17 May 2021

Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant

Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant
  • A coronavirus insurance certificate is required for travelers under the age of 18

RIYADH: As travel suspension for Saudis and the opening of land, sea and air ports is lifted starting May 17, some travelers are gearing up to visit the King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for a vacation, while others remain cautious due to the Indian variant of the coronavirus disease.

Ten additional lanes have been installed in the departure area, bringing the total number of lanes to 27, as well as 36 lanes in the arrival area, said Duwaihi Al-Sahli, director of King Fahd Causeway Passports, in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

However, only those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to leave the Kingdom, according to the Saudi authorities. Proof shall be presented via the Tawakkalna app.

A coronavirus insurance certificate is required for travelers under the age of 18.

Travelers will be required to carry any of the health applications approved in the GCC countries, which confirm whether they are vaccinated or have recovered from the virus, Bahrain’s News Agency BNA reported.

A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel should  also be presented at the borders, the report added.

Barak Al-Barrak, owner of a Saudi commercial establishment who was a former partner in an advertising company, said that he used to head to Amwaj Island soon after entering Bahrain for shopping in the Chinese market, and the Laguna Resort located on the island of Muharraq (northeast of Bahrain).

He told Arab News that he will not travel to Bahrain during the current period for two main reasons: “To avoid crowding and for fear of the Indian mutated coronavirus.”

SPEEDREAD

• Ten additional lanes have been installed in the departure area, bringing the total number of lanes to 27, as well as 36 lanes in the arrival area, says senior official at King Fahd Causeway Passports.

• Only those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to leave the Kingdom, according to the Saudi authorities. Proof shall be presented via the Tawakkalna app.

• Travel suspension for Saudis and the opening of Kingdom’s land, sea and air ports will be lifted from May 17.

Sharing the same sentiment, Meshaal Hamdan, a private-sector employee, said that he wants to see new entertainment projects in Bahrain soon, but he ruled out traveling in light of the spread of the Indian COVID-19 variant.

Bahraini journalist Najat Showaiter said that the welcoming campaigns from her country’s citizens to Saudis is an indication of the mutual love and friendship between the two peoples.

“We as Bahrainis welcome our brothers and the Saudi people love us, and we invite them to visit Bahrain,” she said.

She expected the Bahraini markets, especially the commercial malls, to revive. Films and entertainment games for children are likely to attract more arrivals to the country for the purpose of tourism, suggesting the revival of Bahraini restaurants that offer a variety of eastern and western foods.

Popular markets, including the markets of Muharraq and Manama, are usual attractions to Saudi tourists, especially for the food and Bahraini sweets they offer.

Gold markets and the real-estate market in Bahrain are also expected to see a higher turnout from tourists, she said, along with an increase in sales and the movement of real estate trading, along with the high rates of rents, especially in chalets and tourist resorts. She expected hotel rooms to be occupied by no less that 80 percent.

Meanwhile, young Bahrainis launched a tourism app titled “b4bhcom” or Gate of Bahrian, coinciding with the country’s preparations to receive Saudis after the lifting of the travel suspension.

The app allows users to learn about events taking place in the country and current and future projects in Bahrain. It also contributes to highlighting tourist sites, shopping destinations and points of interest. It offers the option for users to create and plan their trips by adding places and events included in their personal itinerary.


Saudi authorities ready to receive passengers as travel ban ends

Saudi authorities ready to receive passengers as travel ban ends
Updated 17 May 2021

Saudi authorities ready to receive passengers as travel ban ends

Saudi authorities ready to receive passengers as travel ban ends
  • Saudia airlines says it completed preparations to operate flights to 71 destinations from 95 airports
  • Interior ministry said a ban on travel to countries where the virus is not under control still stands

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s passport authority on Sunday said it was ready to operate international flights at full capacity at the Kingdom’s land border crossings, sea and air ports, as a travel ban is set to end on Monday.
The Ministry of Interior announced that citizens would be permitted to travel and all ports would reopen as of 1 a.m.
The General Directorate of Passports said those wishing to travel outside the Kingdom are required to follow the instructions issued by the interior ministry depending on what category they fall into.
The categories include those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, those who received one dose at least two weeks prior to travel, those recovering from the virus within six months from the date of travel, and citizens under 18-years-old provided they present a travel insurance policy approved by the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), covering the risks of COVID-19 outside the Kingdom before travel.
Saudi Arabian Airlines said it has completed preparations to operate flights to 71 destinations from 95 airports, including 28 domestic and 43 international destinations.
The airline said since the beginning of the pandemic, it has operated more than 100,000 flights and transported more than 10 million passengers.
Its fleet is regularly sterilized using UVC disinfection systems and all crew have been vaccinated.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation said that around 385 flights are expected to operate throughout the Kingdom’s airports on Monday.
Meanwhile, the interior ministry said travel to a number of countries, directly or via another country, is still banned without prior permission.
In January, the ministry banned travel to Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus, and India were the outbreak is till not under control or were the mutated strain is being spread.