Yemen resumes vaccination campaign as supplies dwindle

Yemen resumes vaccination campaign as supplies dwindle
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A Yemeni health worker receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Yemen's third city of Taez, on April 21, 2021. (AFP)
Yemen resumes vaccination campaign as supplies dwindle
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A Yemeni health worker receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 May 2021

Yemen resumes vaccination campaign as supplies dwindle

Yemen resumes vaccination campaign as supplies dwindle
  • Turnout surges at health centers following Saudi vaccine travel requirement

AL-MUKALLA: Hundreds of Yemenis thronged to health facilities across government-controlled areas to receive COVID-19 vaccines on Monday as the country resumed its campaign to inoculate thousands of vulnerable people.

Shortly after receiving 360,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Yemen in April kicked off a national COVID-19 vaccination campaign, targeting health workers, the elderly and people with serious diseases.

The campaign was paused for several weeks due to poor turnout from the targeted groups, prompting health officials to consider opening vaccinations to the public at large.

But this week, health facilities saw unprecedented visits after Saudi Arabia made it mandatory for travelers from Yemen to receive a COVID-19 vaccination before crossing into the Kingdom.

Long queues of people seeking inoculation were seen on Monday outside hospitals and makeshift health centers in the southern cities of Aden, Taiz, Shabwa, Abyan, Lahj and Hadramout. Some health facilities closed doors after entire vaccine stocks were depleted, while others sent urgent appeals for more doses.

The provincial office of the ministry of health in Marib asked travelers to receive jabs at other facilities outside the province after it ran out of vaccines.

According to the official news agency SABA, Qasem Buhaibeh, Yemen’s health minister, said that Marib ran out of doses after health centers close to the Al-Wadiah border crossing with Saudi Arabia vaccinated 3,287 people in just two days.

The health ministry set up two new medical points to meet the surge in demand for vaccines from Yemenis looking to travel to the Kingdom, he added.

Health facilities in the densely populated city of Taiz also reported similar turnouts, with authorities warning that the 70,000 doses in the city “might be gone within a week.”

Dr. Ahmed Mansour, a health official in Taiz, told Arab News: “The number of people is big and our stock will last for one week. We have sent a request for 100,000 more doses.”

He urged the country’s health ministry to urgently dispatch further doses along with the salaries of health workers who are battling the virus and sudden influx of people seeking vaccines.

The Iran-backed Houthi militia have blocked the distribution of vaccines in areas under their control, which prompted the Yemeni government to urge health workers in Sanaa and other northern areas to head to southern provinces to receive the jab.

Mansour said that dozens of health workers have “secretly” received COVID-19 vaccines at health centers in Taiz since April.

“They came from Sanaa and Ibb. The Houthis neither offer health workers the vaccine nor allow them to travel to government areas to get it,” Mansour added.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Houthis have refused to disclose the true number of coronavirus deaths in territories under their control, and have blocked attempts by local and international organizations to investigate the crisis.

Dropping cases

The Aden-based National Coronavirus Committee and health officials who spoke to Arab News on Monday said that the number of daily recorded cases and patient admissions in intensive care units has dropped since the beginning of this month, after figures peaked in April.

On Sunday, the government’s committee reported nine new cases, three deaths, and 44 recoveries, bringing the total number of cases in government-controlled areas to 6,658, including 1,307 deaths and 3,245 recoveries.

Dr. Farooq Q. Naji, director of a COVID-19 treatment center in Aden, told Arab News that daily admissions to the center fell from 80 cases on April 23 to 36 cases on May 17.

Following the drop in infection rates, thousands of university students on Monday headed back to classes amid warnings against violating health guidelines, including compulsory mask wearing.


Emir says Qatar is ready to contribute to every effort to mediate between Russia and Ukraine

Emir says Qatar is ready to contribute to every effort to mediate between Russia and Ukraine
Updated 33 min 33 sec ago

Emir says Qatar is ready to contribute to every effort to mediate between Russia and Ukraine

Emir says Qatar is ready to contribute to every effort to mediate between Russia and Ukraine
  • Sheikh Tamim criticized governments for double standards on value of people based on religion and race
  • Emir hit out at what he called unprecedented attacks on Qatar becoming first Arab country to host FIFA World Cup

LONDON: Qatar’s emir said on Monday that he is ready to contribute to every international and regional effort to find an immediate peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine.
Addressing the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said that solving disputes through aggression is on the rise, and that he is in touch with all parties concerned in the Ukrainian crisis.
“We should never give up trying to bring parties together. As long as we believe our efforts could save even a single life, our attempts to mediate will be worth it,” the emir said.
He expressed sympathy with the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict regardless of their race and religion.
“We consider the value of each European life to be just as precious as someone from our region.
“We stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent refugees who are victims of this European war, and the victims of all other wars taking place right now — victims of every race, nationality and religion. I want us to help all of them.”
Sheikh Tamim also highlighted the suffering of the Palestinian people “who have been occupied for decades with no relief in sight.
“As we rightly apply laser focus to finding a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, I hope we can equally give as much attention and effort to resolving all those forgotten or ignored conflicts.
“The most clear example is in Palestine which has been an open wound since the establishment of the United Nations. The escalation in illegal settlement aggression has been relentless, and the same goes for the continued attacks against the Palestinian people” Sheikh Tamim said.
To applause from the audience, the emir paid tribute to veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed in Jenin while covering Israeli raids on a refugee camp in the West Bank on May 11.
“Shireen was covering the suffering of the Palestinian people for decades and our hearts are broken. Her death was just as horrific as the seven journalists killed in Ukraine since March this year, 18 other journalists killed in Palestine since 2000, and many other journalists killed in the line of duty in Iraq, Syria and Yemen,” he said.
The emir criticized governments for displaying double standards on the value of people based on their religion, region or race.
“In the 21st century we should not tolerate these aggressions, and we should not accept a world where governments have double standards about the value of people based on their religion, region or race,” he said.
He also hit out at what he called unprecedented attacks on Qatar becoming the first Arab country to host the FIFA World Cup.
“For decades now, the Middle East has suffered from discrimination,” he said.
“And I have found that such discrimination is largely based on people not knowing us, and in some cases, refusing to get to know us. Even today, there are still people who cannot accept the idea, that an Arab-Muslim country would host a tournament like the World Cup.
“These individuals, including many in positions of influence, have launched attacks, at a pace never seen before,” he said.


Kuwait airport resumes flights after massive dust storm

This picture taken on May 23, 2022 shows an aerial view of a massive dust storm advancing into Kuwait City above Kuwait Universi
This picture taken on May 23, 2022 shows an aerial view of a massive dust storm advancing into Kuwait City above Kuwait Universi
Updated 12 sec ago

Kuwait airport resumes flights after massive dust storm

This picture taken on May 23, 2022 shows an aerial view of a massive dust storm advancing into Kuwait City above Kuwait Universi

LONDON: Kuwait airport on Monday has resumed international flights after halting them for nearly three hours due to a dust wave that has swept across the area.
“The General Administration of Civil Aviation announced the normal return of air traffic at Kuwait International Airport at 5.50 p.m.,” Deputy Director General for Air Navigation Services Imad Al-Jalawi told Kuwait News Agency.
He added that the dates of incoming and outgoing flights have been rescheduled.
The country’s weather conditions were affected by a decrease in visibility due to dust, reaching less than 500 meters in some areas, accompanied
by active winds that reached a speed of 60 kilometers per hour.
Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities also suspended flights at all airports due to the weather conditions, while the Iraqi government also announced a suspension of official working hours.


Senior Israeli lawmaker warns of ‘religious war’ over Jerusalem moves

Senior Israeli lawmaker warns of ‘religious war’ over Jerusalem moves
Updated 23 May 2022

Senior Israeli lawmaker warns of ‘religious war’ over Jerusalem moves

Senior Israeli lawmaker warns of ‘religious war’ over Jerusalem moves
  • Palestinian factions have denounced Israeli moves in Jerusalem’s Old City, the heart of their decades-old conflict

JERUSALEM: A senior Israeli lawmaker said on Monday the country risked “religious war” after a court ruled in favor of Jews who had tried to pray at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and as nationalists planned a march near the flashpoint site.
Palestinian factions have denounced Israeli moves in Jerusalem’s Old City, the heart of their decades-old conflict, and reiterated threats that echoed their warnings in the run-up to the May 2021 war in Gaza.
Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court on Sunday rescinded a restraining order against three Jews who had prayed while visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Jews revere the site as vestige of two ancient temples, but are barred from worship there under an Israeli pact with Muslim authorities. The mosque is Islam’s third-holiest shrine.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said it would appeal the ruling. Bennett, who heads a weak coalition government, must also decide whether to green-light an annual Israeli flag march in the Old City next Sunday.
Ram Ben-Barak, chairman of parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, came out against the lower court ruling and voiced concern about the planned route of the march, which includes the Muslim quarter of the Old City.
“I think that during this sensitive period care must be taken,” he told Kan radio. “We should not, with our own hands, cause a religious war here or all kinds of provocations that are liable to ignite the Middle East.”
The flag march celebrates Israel’s capture of the Old City in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel deems all of Jerusalem its capital — a status not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want to establish their own capital in the city.
Weeks of clashes in East Jerusalem last year, including in the Al-Aqsa compound, helped ignite a war in Gaza last May that killed at least 250 Palestinians and 13 people in Israel.
After months of relative calm, tensions have risen again in recent weeks, leaving many dead, with repeated raids by Israeli forces in the West Bank, and attacks by militants on Israelis.
Police and Palestinians also clashed in the mosque area last month on numerous occasions during the holy month of Ramadan.
Ben-Barak, whose centrist party is in the coalition, predicted that Bennett would wait until the night before the march to decide on its final route to prevent possible conflict.
“It is not always worth paying this price for a demonstration that is all about spectacle and little else.”
Speaking in Gaza, a senior official with Islamic Jihad, Khaled Al-Batsh, said that going ahead with the flag march would be a “message of war” against Palestinians.
“The Palestinians will confront the flag march and the resistance will do all it should to protect the Al Aqsa mosque and the sacred sites,” Batsh said in a statement.


Five dead, scores trapped after building collapses in Iran - State TV

Five dead, scores trapped after building collapses in Iran - State TV
A rescue operation was being carried out, with emergency teams being dispatched from other cities to help. (AFP)
Updated 23 May 2022

Five dead, scores trapped after building collapses in Iran - State TV

Five dead, scores trapped after building collapses in Iran - State TV
  • A rescue operation was being carried out, with emergency teams being dispatched from other cities to help

DUBAI: Five people were killed when a 10-story building in Iran’s southern city of Abadan partly collapsed and rescuers were trying to help at least 80 people left trapped under the rubble, Iranian state TV reported on Monday.
The semi-official Mehr news agency identified the building as a residential-commercial property on Amir Kabir street in the city, which is close to the border with Iraq.
State TV said emergency teams were being dispatched from other cities to help with the rescue operation, with two teams of rescue dogs, a helicopter and seven rescue vehicles already at the scene. It showed footage of angry Abadan residents shouting slogans against the city authorities.
The head of Khuzestan province’s judiciary has ordered an investigation into the building’s collapse, and its owner and the contractor who built it have been arrested, state TV said.


Egypt’s PM holds talks on Brazil economic ties

Egypt’s PM holds talks on Brazil economic ties
Updated 23 May 2022

Egypt’s PM holds talks on Brazil economic ties

Egypt’s PM holds talks on Brazil economic ties
  • Mostafa Madbouly met with officials from Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce
  • Egypt is Brazil’s top trade partner among Arab countries, with volume of nearly $2.6bn

CAIRO: Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly discussed with Osmar Chohfi, president of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, and its Secretary-General Tamer Mansour, economic ties between the two countries.

Nader Saad, spokesman for Egypt’s Cabinet, said the meeting also reviewed growing ties between Brazil and Arab countries.

Madbouly stressed Cairo’s support for all efforts to bolster economic ties, including proposals related to investment cooperation and the establishment of a Brazilian industrial zone in Egypt.

Egypt is Brazil’s top trade partner among Arab countries, with a trade volume of nearly $2.6 billion.

Khaled Hanafy, secretary-general of the Federation of Arab Chambers of Commerce, who attended the meeting, said Brazil is ready to be a gateway for Egyptian exports to South America, and is willing to invest in Egypt through a Brazilian industrial zone.

Saad said Madbouly was invited to participate in the meetings of the Arab-Brazilian Economic Forum in Sao Paulo in July, under the auspices and presence of Brazil’s president. Brazil’s vice president visited Egypt last September.