Just 1.27% of quarantined UAE passengers test positive for COVID in UK, says IATA

Just 1.27% of quarantined UAE passengers test positive for COVID in UK, says IATA
A British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft takes off from Heathrow Airport in London. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 June 2021

Just 1.27% of quarantined UAE passengers test positive for COVID in UK, says IATA

Just 1.27% of quarantined UAE passengers test positive for COVID in UK, says IATA
  • Around 60,000 people have been registered to test the system

DUBAI: The percentage of passengers arriving in the UK from the UAE who have tested positive for COVID-19 during the mandatory quarantine process was just 1.27 percent, according to figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The UAE and Qatar have been on the UK’s Red List since Feb. 25, meaning passengers arriving in the UK from the Gulf states must quarantine in a designated hotel facility for 10 days, at a cost of £1,750 ($2,476). Egypt, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Sudan were added to the Red List earlier this month.
In an online press briefing on Wednesday, Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said that since Feb. 25 about 410,000 people had returned to the UK and only 8,700, or just over 2 percent, had tested positive for COVID-19, while the rates for the UAE and Qatar were even lower.
“It actually was quite low. So for the UAE, the positivity rate, in other words the number of passengers that tested positive as a percentage of the total number of passengers flying into the UK, was only 1.27 percent,” Walsh said.
“And for Qatar, it was even lower, there were only nine people out of 1,248 in the period between the 25th of February and the 19th of May,” he said, adding that the low infection rate did not justify the countries being on the Red List and the restrictions were having a negative impact on carriers in the region.
“The scientific evidence that we have shows that all of the vaccines are effective against these variants. But clearly the issue is having a significant impact on the operations of carriers in the UAE and Qatar,” he said.
According to the latest figures from IATA, Middle East airlines lost $7.9 billion in revenue last year as passenger demand slumped by 72 percent during the pandemic. The association does not expect the region’s aviation sector to recover until at least 2024.
Looking to the future, Walsh said he was confident that if restrictions such as the mandatory quarantine procedures in the UK were lifted, the industry would see a swift rebound.
“When these restrictions are removed, we see an immediate response from markets. The good news is that we’re very confident that when restrictions are relaxed or removed, we will see a rebound in traffic. Hence the reason we’re forecasting an improvement in 2021 over 2020 forecast losses. This year we estimate to be around 48 billion versus the 126 billion last year,” he said.
IATA is currently working on a digital travel pass, which Walsh said would go live in the Middle East in the coming weeks.
“We have received very positive feedback on the IATA travel pass,” he said. “It will go live in the next couple of weeks with a number of carriers in the Middle East region,” he added, without naming any specific airlines.
The IATA pass is a mobile app that enables passengers to provide proof of their testing and vaccination history, which can be shared with airlines and immigration officials.


Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering

Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering
Updated 14 min 6 sec ago

Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering

Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering
  • The Quebec-based company said it would partner with Nexus Learn Arabic to develop the course
  • The pair want to finish the curriculum by 2022

DUBAI: Canadian education technology company Robotel is teaming up with a UK-based startup to develop an extensive Arabic language digital curriculum.
The Quebec-based company said it would partner with Nexus Learn Arabic to develop the course, as it expands its offerings to its client schools.
“We feel it is important to help bridge the cultural gap between North America, Europe and the Arabic culture, of which the language is a rich testimonial,” Yanick Demers, the company’s CEO said in a statement.
He added Robotel’s client schools have been asking for an Arabic curriculum. The company currently offers curricula in English, German, and Spanish.
The aim is to create a curriculum that will be the “go to” for schools in Europe, Middle East, Asia, and North America, Nexus Learn Arabic CEO Jamal Al-Tamimi said.
“We are currently entertaining opportunities for financing and strategic partnerships to help us achieve the goal of bringing best-in-class Arabic curriculum to schools,” he added.
The pair want to finish the curriculum by 2022.


Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off

Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off
Updated 23 min 18 sec ago

Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off

Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off
  • It follows a deal struck in 2019 and worth SR1.2 billion ($320 million) to develop and operate smart car parks in Dammam, Dhahran and Al Khobar

RIYADH: Batic Investment and Logistics Company said that its smart parking project in Dammam would start generating revenue from July 1.
It follows a deal struck in 2019 and worth SR1.2 billion ($320 million) to develop and operate smart car parks in Dammam, Dhahran and Al Khobar for 25 years.
It is part of a broader push to develop so-called smart cities in the Kingdom with major investments being channeled into technology aimed at improving the efficiency of municipal services.

 


Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger
Updated 13 June 2021

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger
  • It comes amid a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the Kingdom and wider Gulf region as corporations reposition themselves in the post-pandemic world

RIYADH: Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments said they would start preliminary discussions about a possible merger.

The pair made the disclosure in separate statements to the Saudi stock exchange on Sunday.
It comes amid a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the Kingdom and wider Gulf region as corporations reposition themselves in the post-pandemic world.
Dur develops, owns and manages hotels, restaurants, recreational centers and travel agencies. It also provides services to Umrah pilgrims, in addition to developing residential, hotel and commercial buildings, Argaam reported.
Its major shareholders include Assila Investments Co. with 27.14 percent, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) with 16.62 percent, and Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Al Issa with 12 percent, the financial website said.
Meanwhile Taiba is active in real estate, architectural and electrical contracting, maintenance and operation, agricultural, industrial and mining activities.
Its major shareholders include Asilah Investment Co. with 16.73 percent, Mohamed Saleh Hamza Serafy (15.55 percent), and Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Al Issa (7.41 percent), Argaam said.


SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m
Updated 33 min 57 sec ago

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m
  • Under the contract, Taoq will provide media services, produce multilingual content, and provide consulting services

DUBAI: Taoq International Public Relations, a unit of the Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG), has signed a three-year contract with an annual value of SR200 million ($53.3 million).
Under the contract, Taoq will provide media services, produce multilingual content, and provide consulting services, SRMG announced in a bourse filing.
The financial impact of the deal, signed with an unnamed commercial company in the media industry, is expected to appear in Q2 statements this year.

 


Tabuk Pharma clinches deal to sell Moderna vaccine in Kingdom

Tabuk Pharma clinches deal to sell Moderna vaccine in Kingdom
Updated 13 June 2021

Tabuk Pharma clinches deal to sell Moderna vaccine in Kingdom

Tabuk Pharma clinches deal to sell Moderna vaccine in Kingdom
  • The Riyadh-based company has signed an exclusive service agreement with Moderna Switzerland

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Tabuk Pharmaceutical has signed a contract with Moderna to sell and distribute its COVID-19 vaccine in the Kingdom.
The Riyadh-based company, a unit of Tadawul-listed Astra Industrial Group (AIG), has signed an exclusive service agreement with Moderna Switzerland, it said in a stock exchange filing on Sunday.
Tabuk said the value of the deal was difficult to determine "since it is dependent on the level of supply and sales to the market."
Tabuk will hold the marketing authorization for the product during the term of the agreement, it said.
The scope of the deal includes providing suitable handling of the products for the distribution to wholesalers, hospitals, clinics and others.
It also opens up the possibility of Tabuk working with Moderna on other products or new variant vaccines if authorized in the future.
Tabuk Pharmaceuticals has a presence in 20 markets and employs over 1,500 employees.