JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has refuted claims on social media that people waiting for their second doses will not receive them due to concerns about side effects.
On its Twitter account, the ministry published one of the most disputed claims circulating on various platforms on Sunday, reassuring residents that there was no cause for concern. It posted one of the FAQs, saying: “Incorrect, the postponement was due to lack of global supply, and in order for the largest possible number of members of the community to benefit from (the doses available) to achieve the immunity provided by immunization. Quantities will be provided and rescheduled for the second dose.”
On April 10, the ministry announced that it was postponing all appointments for those waiting for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Rescheduled appointments will be announced as soon as supplies are available. Those over the age of 75 will be exempt from this rule and will be provided with their scheduled second doses without the need for an appointment according to Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly.
• A total of 953 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the Kingdom on Monday.
• The number of active cases has declined to 9,607.
For the second day in a row, the number of daily cases dipped below the 1,000 case mark. A total of 953 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the Kingdom on Monday, meaning 420,301 people in Saudi Arabia have now contracted the disease.
A total of 1,038 new recoveries were announced, taking the total number to 403,702. Saudi Arabia’s recovery rate is currently holding steady at 96 percent.
Due to the rise in recoveries, the number of active cases declined to 9,607 but critical cases remain high as eight new patients were admitted to ICUs, raising the total number to 1,359. A total of 13 new deaths have been reported, raising the death toll to 6,992.
Saudi foreign ministry condemns comments made by Lebanon foreign minister
In a statement, Saudi foreign ministry said comments were inconsistent with the most basic diplomatic norms
Updated 18 May 2021
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry on Tuesday summoned the Lebanese ambassador to the Kingdom to express condemnation of comments made by Lebanon's foreign minister.
The ministry said it strongly condemned the comments made in a television interview by caretaker Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Charbel Wehbe, against the Kingdom, its people, and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
In a statement, the ministry also said the comments were inconsistent with the simplest diplomatic norms and were not consistent with the historical relations between the two brotherly peoples.
“Due to any consequences that may develop because of the Lebanese minister’s disparaging statement, the Kingdom’s ministry of foreign affairs summoned the Lebanese ambassador to express and relay its strict censure and rejection to those statements and handed him an official note of protestation,” the statement added.
Saudi Arabia summoned Lebanon's ambassador to the kingdom over the remarks, handing over a memorandum about what were described as Wehbe's "offences".
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) asked Wehbe to make a formal apology to Gulf states.
The UAE denounced the statements, describing them as “disgraceful and racist.”
Lebanese politicians also criticised Wehbe.
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said Tuesday Wehbe’s comments on Gulf countries reflected his personal opinion and not the opinion of the state.
“The presidency assures the depth of the brotherly relationship between Lebanon and Gulf countries and at the forefront Saudi Arabia,” a statement by the presidency said.
“What was said by the foreign minister last night is his personal opinion and does not reflect in any way that of the Lebanese state.”
Saudi family infected with COVID-19 evacuated from India
Updated 18 May 2021
RIYADH: A Saudi family infected with coronavirus has returned to the Kingdom from India, the Saudi Press Agency reported late Monday.
The family was airlifted by the Air Medical Evacuation Department of Health Services at the Saudi Ministry of Defense in an implementation of directives issued by Saudi King Salman.
The plane arrived at King Salman Air Base in Riyadh, with all precautionary measures taken by crew members to combat the spread COVID-19.
Previously, Saudi Arabia transported more than 74 cases infected with COVID-19 through its medical air evacuation planes without infecting the medical and aircrews with the virus.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman receives phone call from Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa
King Hamad congratulated King Salman on the re-opening of the King Fahd Causeway
King Salman thanked Bahrain’s ruler for his efforts to further strengthen the relations between both Kingdoms
Updated 18 May 2021
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman discussed in a phone call with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa issues of common interest and relations between both Kingdoms, state news agency SPA reported.
King Hamad further congratulated King Salman on the re-opening of the King Fahd Causeway, following the coronavirus lockdown, Bahrain’s news agency BNA reported.
Only those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or those who have recovered from the disease are allowed to leave the Kingdom.
Meanwhile King Salman thanked Bahrain’s ruler for his efforts to further strengthen the relations between both Kingdoms.
About 385 international flights took off from nine Saudi airports on Monday, including 225 departures from Riyadh, 75 from Jeddah, 66 from Dammam, and 19 from the other airports. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
Saudi passengers flock to airports as foreign travel resumes
About 385 flights to international destinations took off from nine airports in the Kingdom on Monday
Updated 18 May 2021
JEDDAH: The terminals at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah were once again bustling with passengers on Monday, as international travel resumed more than a year after it was suspended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Arrivals and departures resumed at the Kingdom’s air, land and sea ports at 1 a.m., with Saudi citizens who have been vaccinated, or have recovered from the virus within the past six months, free to travel.
As passengers flocked to the airport from early Monday morning, the flow of traffic was well-organized and smooth. Entry to terminals was restricted to people with valid tickets and helpers accompanying disabled travelers.
As part of the latest rules implemented by authorities, Saudis younger than 18 must also provide proof that they have a health insurance policy, approved by the Saudi Central Bank, that will cover the cost of treatment for COVID-19 in other countries.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation also issued updated travel guidelines, including requirements for the use of the country’s Tawakkalna COVID-19 tracking app. The conditions apply to all travelers, regardless of whether their trip is for leisure, study, work or to receive medical treatment.
About 385 international flights took off from nine Saudi airports on Monday, including 225 departures from Riyadh, 75 from Jeddah, 66 from Dammam, and 19 from the other airports. In addition, about 300 vehicles crossed land borders into Qatar during the morning.
The Kingdom’s national carrier, Saudia, resumed flights to 43 destinations in 30 countries. It said it will operate 178 scheduled flights each week from Jeddah and 153 from Riyadh.
Ibrahim Al-Omar, the airline’s director general, said that Saudia has implemented more than 50 precautionary measures throughout all stages of the flight process, and has been ranked among the Top-10 safest airlines in the world by the Airline Passenger Experience Association. He added that since the pandemic began, the airline has operated more than 100,000 flights, transporting more than 10 million passengers.
The destination of the first international flight to depart from Riyadh on Monday was Hyderabad in India, while the first flight of the day from Jeddah was bound for Dhaka in Bangladesh. The first international flight to land in Riyadh on Monday was from Cairo, and the first arrival in Jeddah was from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
More than 18,000 people traveled from King Abdulaziz Airport on Monday.
More than 47 flights operated from the Kingdom within 6.
Despite the resumption of international flights, the Saudi Interior Ministry said that a ban remains on direct or indirect travel to 13 countries without prior permission to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The countries this applies to are: Libya, Yemen, Armenia, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Belarus, India, Lebanon, Turkey, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Venezuela.
In addition, the ministry said travelers heading to Bahrain must have received two doses of a vaccine, and children under the age of 18 are not eligible to travel there. Diplomats and individuals accompanying them, air navigation and ship crews, workers in companies that are part of the health supply chain, and truck drivers are exempt from these rules. People who arrived at the King Fahd Causeway, on the border with Bahrain, but did not meet the requirements were turned away on Monday.
Travelers returning to the Kingdom after visiting a foreign country will be required to quarantine at home for seven days. However foreign visitors, including members of diplomatic missions arriving by air from most countries, will no longer need to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Those who are not vaccinated must provide proof of a negative PCR test, issued by an approved laboratory within 72 hours of flying to the Kingdom, otherwise they will not be allowed to board the plane.
With the exception of Saudi citizens, resident expats and GCC citizens, all people arriving in Saudi Arabia must have medical insurance that will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment in outpatient clinics, emergency rooms and hospitals.
On Jan. 29, Saudi authorities postponed the reopening of air, sea and land ports and extended the travel ban from Mar. 31 to May 17. Further information about international travel, including the rules and requirements, is available at www.saudia.com.