Saudi Ministry updates health protocols in mosques

Saudi Ministry updates health protocols in mosques
Worshippers, keeping a safe distance from one another, perform the dawn prayer at a mosque in the Saudi holy city of Makkah on June 21, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 21 June 2021

Saudi Ministry updates health protocols in mosques

Saudi Ministry updates health protocols in mosques
  • Mosques shall adhere to the previously approved time as follows: 20 minutes for all the obligatory prayers, 25 minutes for Fajr prayer, and 10 minutes for Maghrib prayer

RIYADH: Health protocols in mosques across the Kingdom have been updated in light of developments in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance issued a circular detailing the changes.

It said that all preventive measures must be taken, including wearing a mask, bringing a rug for personal use, avoiding crowding when entering and leaving the mosque, and maintaining a distance of one-and-a-half meters between worshipers.

The ministry canceled the requirement to leave an empty row between every two rows and reduced the period of time between the first (Adhan) and second (Iqama) calls to prayer.

Mosques shall adhere to the previously approved time as follows: 20 minutes for all the obligatory prayers, 25 minutes for Fajr prayer, and 10 minutes for Maghrib prayer.

It added that mosques will open for Friday prayers one hour before the call to prayer and close 30 minutes after the prayer.

The circular has canceled the limit on the duration of the Friday sermon and prayer to 15 minutes, but kept the sermon as short as possible.

In addition, it canceled the decision to withdraw copies of the Qur’an from mosques and urge worshippers to bring their Qur’an with them, permitting lectures and lessons in mosques while adhering to social distancing procedures, as well as cancelling the previous directive to remove water coolers and refrigerators from mosques.

The ministry urged everyone to adhere to the updated health protocols from the Public Health Authority and to follow up their update on the electronic link: https://covid19.cdc.gov.sa/ar/mosques.

The ministry also called on everyone to be cooperative and report any violation of health protocols by calling 1933, to maintain the health and safety of worshipers.

Meanwhile, the ministry ordered the opening of the Quba Mosque, starting Sunday, to enable worshippers to pray in the mosque at all hours of the day, to alleviate overcrowding, especially at its entrances and courtyards.

The ministry reiterated the importance of taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and urged worshippers and visitors to cooperate with the relevant authorities in the fight against the pandemic, stressing that everyone’s adherence to the protocols is the way to stay safe. It added that following the regulations is a legitimate demand and a national duty.


Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia

Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia
Updated 2 min 32 sec ago

Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia

Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia
  • Visitors from different parts of the community can participate and contribute their drawings
  • The event is in partnership with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture on Thursday launched an event to draw Arabic calligraphy murals in ten regions in the Kingdom.
The tour falls, which ends in January under the umbrella of the “Year of Arabic Calligraphy” initiative that was launched by the ministry.
The event begins in the city of Arar in the Northern Borders Province for three days, and then will move to the city of Sakaka in Al-Jouf, followed by Tabuk, and then Qassim. The first phase concludes in the city of Abha in Asir.
The event will complete its second phase in September in Al-Baha, Hail, Madinah (AlUla), Al-Ahsa, and then Jazan.
A mural will be drawn in each area by a local calligrapher and a graffiti artist in an open space, where visitors from different parts of the community can participate and contribute their drawings and lines until the mural is completed.
The event is in partnership with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing.


How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship

How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship
Updated 7 min 39 sec ago

How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship

How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship
  • Some 100 pieces of furniture and textiles have been recreated based on traditional Saudi techniques
  • Items have formed backdrop to high-profile meetings with dignitaries such as John Kerry

RIYADH: When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on June 16, there was something about the official photos that caught the eye.

Instead of the usual understated grandeur of a palace interior where such senior officials would usually meet, Kerry found himself surrounded by a splendid display of traditional Najdi decor.

Giant strings of bedouin beads hung on the walls above him and stunning hardwood tables, surrounded with colorful poufs, adorned the floor space.

Arab News can reveal that the interior design is part of a project requested by the crown prince to create more than 100 unique items that represent the heritage of Najd.

Cyma Azyz and Faisal Al-Saadaway were tasked with having the textiles, furniture and other items handcrafted using entirely Saudi tools and materials.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C) meeting with the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry (2nd-L) in the capital Riyadh in June. (AFP/Saudi Royal Palace/File Photo)

Azyz told Arab News that the crown prince requested that not a single nail from outside the Kingdom be used on the project.

Al-Saadaway is one of the most experienced collectors of Saudi antiquities in Riyadh and has expertise in the architecture and design of Najd, Saudi Arabia’s vast central region, while Azyz was a television anchor with a passion for the preservation of Najdi arts and culture.

The two were first approached for the private project in their outlet in Diriyah — called “Saadaway Najd” — by an interior designer for the crown prince.

The designer was intrigued by their collection and visited their main Arts and Antiques Gallery in Olaya in the summer of 2018. 

“The gentleman paid us a visit and was astonished at the eclectic quality of antiques and delighted to see our large selection of Najdi furniture, accessories, and textiles that were inspired by the Bedouin rugs for upholstery and curtains,” Azyz said.

From there, the construction began. The crown prince’s team wanted to ensure that traditional Najdi craftsmanship and design were represented in every piece of the project.

The most prominent part of the project became known as the “Majlis,” where political leaders and guests like John Kerry meet the crown prince. 

Cyma Azyz and Faisal Al-Saadaway were tasked with having the textiles, furniture and other items handcrafted using entirely Saudi tools and materials. (AN Photo/Lama Al-Hamawi)

The team first researched the authentic Najdi techniques of construction and furnishing that were available through the assistance of local sources and the government. 

They then visited traditional village homes to study the detailing and design of the furniture.

“The sheer quantity of the details and design in the data collection allowed us to create authentic designs efficiently, which is the reason behind the fast completion of the crown prince’s project,” Azyz said. 

“A project of this magnitude realistically cannot be completed in less than one year, but the timeline given was three months,” she said. 

The project included vintage leather water pouches, painted leather panels, armchairs, sofas, coffee tables, study tables, sideboards, chests, chairs, alabaster vases and more. 

The partners spent day and night crafting each piece to perfectly represent Saudi culture. 

There were numerous techniques used in the project including the detailing and hand carving of the side tables, the painting of the gold and copper nails, and the etching, burning and engraving of each piece.

The design of the project was established within the Olaya gallery, but the production of each piece was carried out in a workshop in Saniyah, Riyadh’s industrial area.

Instead of the usual understated grandeur of a palace interior where such senior officials would usually meet, John Kerry found himself surrounded by a splendid display of traditional Najdi decor while meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (AN Photo/Lama Al-Hamawi)

“I personally oversaw the production of the pieces, from the early hours of the morning to past midnight, in a workshop in Saniyah,” Azyz said.

She was the only woman in the workshop, and her brothers would complete their workday in a bank and help her with the project.

“It is not an area where women are commonly seen, but this project, having such limited time constraints and so many details, called on us to join forces with our factory workers and carpenters.”

The delivery process was also very intricate because there were so many fragile pieces that took hours to create. 

“The classic Najdi furniture doesn’t come with loose screws and washers to be boxed and sent. Actually, it cannot be easily assembled on-site, so we had to send finished pieces, meaning larger truckloads,” Azyz said. 

Azyz and Al-Saadaway said they were passionate to take on the project because of its importance in preserving the local heritage.

“In this era of modernization, it is very important to keep the heritage and culture alive for younger generations to learn about their past and history,” Azyz stated. 

“I have personally met and worked with craftsmen from different parts of the Kingdom and was devastated to learn that most of them do not care about passing their handicrafts onto their children, as they want them to pursue brighter career prospects following education in big institutes and life in bigger cities,” Azyz said.

“Our crown prince is not only living by example but has taken it one step further with mega projects that are heralding the era of ‘made in Saudi Arabia’ for the revival and preservation of our folk arts.”


Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Italian, Spanish counterparts

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Italian, Spanish counterparts
Updated 05 August 2021

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Italian, Spanish counterparts

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Italian, Spanish counterparts
  • They discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, and regional and international developments

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan made a phone call to his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio on Thursday.
During the call, they reviewed bilateral relations and opportunities to strengthen them in various fields, in addition to a number of regional and international issues and developments.
Earlier on Thursday, Prince Faisal received a similar call from his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares, where both sides also discussed ways to develop relations between them.


Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 05 August 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 512,373
  • Police in the Eastern Province and Makkah arrested 280 people for flouting quarantine rules

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 13 deaths from COVID-19 and 986 new infections on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 189 were recorded in Makkah, 177 in Riyadh, 162 in the Eastern Province, 101 in Jazan, 98 in Asir, 55 in Madinah, 41 in Hail, 35 in Tabuk, 29 in Najran, 24 in the Northern Borders region, 17 in Al-Baha, and 10 in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 512,373 after 1,055 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,297 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

The Kingdom’s health ministry emphasised on Thursday the need for students aged 12-18 years to be vaccinated ahead of the new school year.

Students who have not had a first dose of the vaccine before August 8 will not be able to attend their first day back in education.

The ministry added that the period between having both doses of a coronavirus vaccine is three weeks.

Over 29 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.

Asir’s health department said it began work on the new expansion of the coronavirus vaccine center at the Prince Sultan Cultural Center in Khamis Mushait.

Asir health department’s COVID-19 vaccine center at the Prince Sultan Cultural Center in Khamis Mushait. (SPA)

The center now accommodates approximately 10,000 patients per day, and aims to raise its capacity to 15,000, the department said.
It has been fully equipped and contains 18 registration stations and 60 vaccination clinics, supported by three emergency clinics.

Meanwhile, police in the Eastern Province said they arrested 178 people for flouting quarantine rules after they tested positive for COVID-19, while police in Makkah said they arrested 102 people for violating quarantine instructions.
Penalties for individuals who violate quarantine instructions include a fine of up to SR200,000 ($53,332) and/or up to two years imprisonment, and penalties are doubled for repeat offenders. If the violation was committed by an expat, they face deportation from the Kingdom and are permanently banned from reentry.

Prince Faisal bin Mishaal bin Saud, governor of Qassim, suspended five activities and festivals in the region for COVID-19 violations.
The region’s spokesman, Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Hussein, said the activities were held in the city of Buraidah and the governorates of Onaizah and Al-Ras, adding there is no tolerance violations against the preventive measures. 
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened 13 mosques in five regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after 13 people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 1,955 within 180 days.


Sea ambulance service launched in KSA’s Farasan Island

Sea ambulance service launched in KSA’s Farasan Island
Updated 05 August 2021

Sea ambulance service launched in KSA’s Farasan Island

Sea ambulance service launched in KSA’s Farasan Island
  • Sea ambulance cost $3.6m and is equipped with the latest safety systems, five beds, a CPR device, and a shock-absorbent stretcher
  • Will be able to transfer emergency cases from Farasan Island to Jazan Port within 45 minutes

JAZAN: Jazan Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdul Aziz on Wednesday inaugurated a sea ambulance service in the Farasan Island governorate.

The governor listened to a detailed briefing from Jazan Health Director Dr. Awaji Al-Naami about the sea ambulance, which was manufactured at a cost of SR13.6 million ($3.6 million) and is equipped with the latest safety systems.

The sea ambulance has up to five beds, including an ICU bed, along with a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) device, a shock-absorbent stretcher that can adapt to waves and rough conditions at sea, a suction device, and medicines needed for emergency care.

Prince Mohammed also reviewed the action plan of the sea ambulance, which can transfer emergency cases from Farasan Island to Jazan Port within 45 minutes.

He got acquainted with the smart systems that enable the medical transfer operations center at the Emergency, Disasters, and Ambulatory Transportation General Department at the Jazan Health Directorate. The smart systems can also monitor the sea ambulance’s movements in the sea until it arrives at the port.

The sea ambulance is part of the Ministry of Health’s endeavors to provide health services to citizens and residents alike.