Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant

Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant
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Saudis and Bahrainis enjoy strong and lasting bond of relationship. (Shutterstock)
Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant
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Saudis and Bahrainis enjoy strong and lasting bond of relationship. (Shutterstock)
Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant
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Saudis and Bahrainis enjoy strong and lasting bond of relationship. (SPA)
Shopping attracts Saudis to Bahrain amid spread of COVID variant
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Saudis and Bahrainis enjoy strong and lasting bond of relationship. (SPA)
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Updated 18 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 Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 454,404
  • A total of 7,663 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 13 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,153 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 335 were recorded in Makkah, 266 in Riyadh, 148 in the Eastern Province, 119 in Asir, 84 in Jazan, 63 in Madinah, 27 in Najran, 23 in Tabuk, 17 in Hail, 12 in Al-Baha, 10 in the Northern Borders region, and four in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 454,404 after 1,145 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 7,663 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 16.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Arab coalition destroys 11 Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys 11 Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia
Updated 19 June 2021

Arab coalition destroys 11 Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys 11 Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia
  • Iran-backed Houthi militia have consistently launched attacks against the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defenses destroyed 11 Houthi drones launched toward the Kingdom’s southern region on Saturday.
A booby-trapped drone targeted Khamis Mushait early morning before seven more targeting the southern region were intercepted in Yemeni airspace during the afternoon.
Khamis Mushait was again targeted by two drones in the evening.

Another drone targeted Najran late evening. 
The Houthi militia’s deliberate and systematic escalation against Yemenis constitutes a war crime, the coalition said, adding that it was taking measures to protect civilians from hostile attacks.
The Iran-backedHouthis have been attacking the Kingdom with explosives-laden drones on an almost daily basis in recent weeks despite US, UN and Saudi calls for a ceasefire in Yemen.

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Second dose of coronavirus vaccine available from July in Saudi Arabia

Second dose of coronavirus vaccine available from July in Saudi Arabia
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. (AP)
Updated 19 June 2021

Second dose of coronavirus vaccine available from July in Saudi Arabia

Second dose of coronavirus vaccine available from July in Saudi Arabia
  • Health Ministry reports 1,236 new cases, 1,050 recoveries, 15 deaths

JEDDAH: A second dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine will be available to everyone from July, Saudi TV channel Al-Ekhbariya reported on Friday.

The Ministry of Health announced on Thursday that a high COVID-19 immunization rate had been achieved among members of the Kingdom’s population aged 60 years and over.
Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the country’s leadership was keen to provide highly effective vaccines to tackle the virus.
Dr. Abdullah Assiri, assistant deputy minister of preventive health, said that a delay in receiving a second dose could better stimulate immunity in some vaccines.
“There is no need to worry about delaying the second dose for some groups of society for the public good, and the follow-up of immunity levels after the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines shows that there is no ideal period between the two doses,” he added.
Meanwhile, all foreign travelers and those accompanying them to the Kingdom must complete registration for their COVID-19 immunization data before departure, according to the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
GACA said the protocol would help ease entry procedures and reduce waiting periods. Registration will apply to all citizens from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, holders of new visas, residents, and their companions whether vaccinated or not.

INNUMBERS

471,959 Total cases

453,259 Recoveries

7,650 Deaths

The authority noted that the move was, “in line with efforts made by the Kingdom to limit the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring the safety of citizens and residents.”
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Friday reported 15 more COVID-19-related deaths, taking the overall toll to 7,650.
There were 1,236 new cases, meaning that 471,959 people in the country had now contracted the disease. A total of 11,050 cases remained active, of which 1,496 patients were in critical condition.
Of the newly recorded cases, 372 were in Makkah, 240 in Riyadh, 213 in the Eastern Province, and 65 in Madinah.
In addition, the ministry said 1,050 patients had recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 453,259.
Saudi Arabia had so far conducted 20,799,293 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with 86,695 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Among them, Taakad (make sure) centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual. Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app. Meanwhile, 16,387,147 people in the country had to date received a jab against COVID-19.


Nasana wooden dolls: Preserving Saudi heritage through artisanship

Nasana wooden dolls: Preserving Saudi heritage through artisanship
Saudi designer Malak Masallati chooses to preserve the traditional costumes of her country through a collection of wooden dolls called Nasana. (Supplied)
Updated 19 June 2021

Nasana wooden dolls: Preserving Saudi heritage through artisanship

Nasana wooden dolls: Preserving Saudi heritage through artisanship
  • The collection was launched in November 2020 and is currently on display at the Assila Hotel in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Every culture has a special way to tell the story of its people. Saudi designer Malak Masallati chooses to preserve the traditional costumes of her country through a collection of wooden dolls called Nasana (which translates to “our people”).
“Nasana is there to highlight the diverse individuals of Saudi Arabia, with their different backgrounds, ages, stories, traditions, and customs,” Masallati told Arab News, adding that it also reflects the pride Saudis feel for their Kingdom.
The collection was launched in November 2020 and is currently on display at the Assila Hotel in Jeddah. It has previously been exhibited at Shara Art Fair by the Saudi Art Council.

Saudi designer Malak Masallati chooses to preserve the traditional costumes of her country through a collection of wooden dolls called Nasana. (Supplied)

It consists of 15 dolls, each representing a different region of Saudi Arabia. Each character has a name inspired by traditional names from each region, including Saud, Al-Joharah, Nourah, Sitah, Abdulaziz, Itra, Hajjar, Zahra, Haylah, Obaid, Saeed, Amnah, Fatou, Fouad, and Shifa.
“I believe that Saudi Arabia has a vast heritage yet to be discovered (by many). The younger generation possesses the knowledge and creativity that is required to (promote that heritage),” she said, citing the Saudi fashion brand Sleysla, with whom she has previously worked, as a good example.

HIGHLIGHTS

• ‘Nasana’ is a collection of 15 hand-painted wooden dolls representing the traditional costumes of different regions of Saudi Arabia.

• The collection is currently on display in Jeddah and the dolls are also available to buy.

• Most of the collection’s costumes are based on information found in the book ‘Traditional Costumes of Saudi Arabia’ by The Mansoojat Foundation.

Masallati, who has more than 15 years of experience in interior design and residential renovation, is the founder of Dar Malak, a makers’ space in Jeddah dedicated to producing other unique Saudi products. The Nasana collection was itself produced there. The dolls are hand-painted by emerging artists from different Saudi communities working in Dar Malak.
“The collection went through a long design process, trying different techniques with various materials such as paint, gesso, as well as gold and silver leafing,” Masallati explained.
The dolls are based on research carried out online and in the field. “(We) captured stories and researched the facts,” Masallati said. “We traveled to most of these areas and incorporated details we found in Abdul Raouf Khalil Museum in Jeddah, where they showcase beautiful traditional costumes.”
She also mentioned that “Traditional Costumes of Saudi Arabia” — a book produced by the Mansoojat Foundation Collection, a charity dedicated to the preservation of ethnic textiles and designs — was of invaluable assistance to the project.
The Nasana dolls — some of which stand 59 centimeters tall — are also on sale for between SR9,000 and SR11,000 ($2,400-2,933).
Masallati said she and her team intend to expand the collection in the future, and to work with art college graduates. They will also produce a new collection this year, she said.

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Saudi Arabia distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees

Saudi Arabia distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees
KSrelief distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees. (SPA)
Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi Arabia distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees

Saudi Arabia distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees
  • The general medicine clinics received 192 patients, pediatric clinics received 59 patients, the emergency department received 37 patients, and dental clinics received 22 patients

DHAKA: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) continued distributing food baskets to Rohingya refugees and needy families in Bangladesh, in collaboration with the Muslim World League.
KSrelief has recently distributed 1,000 food baskets in Gazipur City in Dhaka district, benefiting 5,000 people, the Saudi press Agency reported on Friday.
The center is aiming to distribute 80,000 food baskets to 500,000 Rohingya refugees from the poorest families in Bangladesh, in support of the quick response action plan to alleviate their suffering.
Meanwhile, KSrelief clinics offered their medical services to 436 patients in the Zaatari Syrian refugees’ camp in Jordan.
The general medicine clinics received 192 patients, pediatric clinics received 59 patients, the emergency department received 37 patients, and dental clinics received 22 patients.
In addition, the child rescue clinic rescued 10 patient children, while a total of 316 prescriptions were registered at the pharmacy.
KSrelief mobile clinics have treated 2,925 people in Al-Khoukha in the last week. The clinics responded to emergencies and provided services related to pediatrics, reproductivity, nutrition, education and awareness raising, plus surgeries and medical referrals.
In addition, 1,475 lab examinations have been made and 2,449 patients have received medicines, with 861 patients examined at the medical care units. Ten received blood transfusions and 11 patients visited obstetrics.