Saudi health ministry: Vaccines safe for children, will protect against Delta variant

Health authorities urge parents to organize coronavirus vaccinations for their children aged 12 and above to further protect the population. (SPA)
Health authorities urge parents to organize coronavirus vaccinations for their children aged 12 and above to further protect the population. (SPA)
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Updated 05 July 2021

Saudi health ministry: Vaccines safe for children, will protect against Delta variant

Health authorities urge parents to organize coronavirus vaccinations for their children aged 12 and above to further protect the population. (SPA)
  • Pilgrims attempting to gain access to Grand Mosque and other holy sites during Hajj without a permit will be fined SR10,000 starting July 5 until July 23

JEDDAH: Saudi health authorities are urging parents to organize coronavirus vaccinations for their children aged 12 and above to further protect the population from emerging and dangerous variants of the disease.

In a joint press conference on Sunday headed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Interior spokespersons, health spokesperson Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly warned that though it is natural for viruses to mutate, the Delta variant has become a “cause for concern.”

Despite the warning, studies have shown that vaccines are effective in protecting children from the dangerous variant, Al-Aly said.

The ministry received questions on the use of vaccines, and the spokesman confirmed the safety of jab distribution among children.

Al-Aly was asked: “Children have a strong immune system, and there has been no critical coronavirus cases among them. Why should they be vaccinated?”

He responded: “This piece of information is wrong. Yes, critical cases number less among children and the youth in general, including those 18 and under, even 12 and under. They are less susceptible to extreme complications than those in older categories, but it is not true at all that they are not exposed to critical cases.”

The spokesman confirmed that the new Delta variant has affected children in different parts of the world. “Critical cases for children have been reported around the world, and the Delta variant was registered in the younger category of patients,” he said.

Speaking at the same press conference, Ministry of Interior spokesman Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub warned that pilgrims attempting to gain access to the Grand Mosque in Makkah and other holy sites during the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage without a permit will be fined SR10,000 ($2,666) starting July 5 until July 23.

INNUMBERS

492,785 Total cases

472,939 Recoveries

7,876 Deaths

In just one week, the Ministry of Interior registered 2,0213 COVID-19 health measure violations.

A total of 1,173 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the Kingdom on Sunday, meaning that 492,785 people in Saudi Arabia have now contracted the disease.

The Eastern Province topped the regional list with the highest case count with 273. It was followed by Riyadh with 227, Makkah with 222 and Qassim with 115 cases. Jouf continues to be the region with the lowest numbers, with just eight cases reported on Sunday.

The number of active cases declined to 11,970, with critical cases also falling to 1,348, a decline of 16 from the previous day.

A further 1,389 new recoveries were recorded, bringing the total number of recoveries over the course of the pandemic to 472,939. The Kingdom’s recovery rate is holding steady at 96.9 percent.

Thirteen new COVID-19-related deaths were reported, raising the Kingdom’s death toll to 7,876.

The Kingdom has administered more than 18.4 million COVID-19 vaccines so far at a rate of 148,346 doses per day. Almost 53 percent of the Kingdom’s population has been inoculated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 1.73 million people have received both doses so far as the Kingdom moves forward with second dose inoculations for people above the age of 40.

There were 85,539 PCR tests carried out in the past 24 hours, raising the total number conducted in the Kingdom to more than 22.2 million.

The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority-affiliated Tawakkalna app has announced the release of a new version that contains updated options, including a health passport program for easier travel.

The passport update includes information about the COVID-19 travel insurance policy, which has been approved by the Saudi Central Bank and Council of Cooperative Health Insurance.

The health passport contains traveler information regarding immunization status, the date and result of the most recent PCR test, and the insurance policy and its validity.

It also improves travel procedures by providing travel-related information as part of efforts to improve the application experience for Tawakkalna users.

The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority urged people to update their Tawakkalna apps to the most recent version in order to make use of the service.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dahwah and Guidance reopened nine mosques across three regions after they were temporarily evacuated and sterilized, bringing the total number of mosques sterilized and ready to enter within 148 days to 1,757.


Muslim World League and World Jewish Congress urge UN secretary general to promote religious freedom

Muslim World League and World Jewish Congress urge UN secretary general to promote religious freedom
Updated 17 min 34 sec ago

Muslim World League and World Jewish Congress urge UN secretary general to promote religious freedom

Muslim World League and World Jewish Congress urge UN secretary general to promote religious freedom
  • Two faith leaders urged UN secretary general to promote interfaith dialogue and coexistence
  • They said that religions have power to unite individuals given that their common source is mercy and peace

LONDON: The secretary general of the Muslim World League and the president of the World Jewish Congress have urged the secretary general of the UN to advocate for religious freedom and an end to violence against houses of worship.
During a meeting with Antonio Guterres at the UN on Tuesday, the two faith leaders urged the secretary general to promote interfaith dialogue and coexistence as a way to forge consensus on many of the world’s greatest challenges.
They emphasized that religions have a unique power to unite individuals given that their common source is mercy and peace.
“The world is under threat from pernicious individuals and groups that seek to use hatred, violence and discrimination to target Muslims, Jews and many other global communities,” Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said.
“Fortunately, however, we are seeing interfaith partnerships blossom more than ever before as we unite to fight the scourge of racism and extremism, and build bridges of tolerance, understanding, peace and harmony,” he said.
Meanwhile, the president of WJC Ronald S. Lauder said the world must stand together against racism.
“Campaigns against racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and other manifestations of hate will be infinitely more effective if they are united, both by the Abrahamic faiths and other religions worldwide,” Lauder said.
“We believe in working toward a better world, for generations to come,” he added. 
The two faith leaders renewed their commitment to working together to promote religious tolerance around the globe and leveraging their influence as leaders of independent, global organizations that are apolitical but wield significant moral standing.  
The MWL and WJC issued a joint statement before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Oct. 4 pledging an interfaith commitment to promoting and protecting human rights for all.
It marked the first time a coordinated statement
was presented by Jewish and Muslim representative groups before a UN body.
Both organizations reiterated the need to safeguard religious freedom globally and the right of individuals to practice their religion as a basic human right.


Saudi FM reiterates Kingdom’s support for all efforts aimed at achieving stability in Libya

Saudi FM reiterates Kingdom’s support for all efforts aimed at achieving stability in Libya
Updated 7 sec ago

Saudi FM reiterates Kingdom’s support for all efforts aimed at achieving stability in Libya

Saudi FM reiterates Kingdom’s support for all efforts aimed at achieving stability in Libya

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's foreign minister reiterated the Kingdom’s support for all efforts aimed at achieving stability in Libya.

Developing 


Saudi Arabia announces 3 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 3 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 21 October 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 3 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 3 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 537,149
  • A total of 8,773 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced three deaths from COVID-19 and 46 new infections on Thursday.

Of the new cases, 11 were recorded in Riyadh, nine in Jeddah, three in Makkah, two in Hail, two in Taif, two in Hofuf, and two in Dhahran. Several other cities recorded one new case each.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 537,149 after 54 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,773 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 44.9 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony

UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony
Updated 21 October 2021

UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony

UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony
  • The Study UK Alumni Awards 2022 call for applications is open until Oct. 29, 2021

RIYADH: The British Embassy and British Council announced the recipients of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2020-2021Study UK Alumni Awards 2020-2021 in Saudi Arabia at an awards ceremony hosted by British Ambassador in Riyadh, Neil Crompton, on Wednesday.

UK alumni from Jeddah, Riyadh, Dhahran, Qassim and Thuwal were recognized for their outstanding achievements as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders, and for their important contributions in strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Saudi Arabia.

The Study UK Alumni Awards 2022 call for applications is open until Oct. 29, 2021.

The awards were developed by the British Council and UK universities, and are open to alumni residing in any country outside the UK who have studied in the UK, at an officially recognized provider of UK university degree level study for a minimum of a term or semester, or who have been awarded a full UK degree level qualification (or higher) by a UK university in the past 15 years.

Speaking at the awards ceremony the British envoy said: “I am delighted to host the 7th Study UK Alumni Award ceremony in person this year, and have the chance to meet many of bright Saudi women and men who are driving economic success and social impact through their work, in their professions, and in their communities to achieve the vision set out by their leadership.”

He added: “This prestigious international award celebrates UK higher education and the achievements of outstanding Saudis who studied in the UK and are using their education to make a positive impact. It reflects the wider partnership between our two countries.  My congratulations to all our finalists and winners. I encourage many more Saudis who have studied in the UK to apply to the awards so that more of these amazing stories can be shared, not only to celebrate their success but also to inspire others.”

Eilidh Kennedy McLean, British Council country director, said: “The remarkable individuals we celebrated today at the awards have all taken their UK education as a starting point to excel in their chosen careers and shape the world around them. This year’s awards ceremony is testimony not only to the diversity of UK alumni and their endeavours, but also to the transformative impact of a UK education. With more than 100,000 alumni of a UK education, there is much to celebrate.”

The award received around 1,300 applications from international UK alumni in more than 100 countries, representing more than 120 UK higher education institutions across the UK. Following interviews with a judging panel, recipients were selected for the three award categories: Professional achievement, entrepreneurial, and social impact.

The professional achievement award, which recognizes alumni who have displayed exemplary leadership in their professional field, was presented to Dr. Roua Alsubki , alumna of University College London. 

Roua is vice dean of skills and development deanship at King Saud University, the first woman to hold this position.

The social impact award, which acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change, was presented to Dr. Bandar Alosaimi for establishing COVIDAT, a website that provides scientific information on COVID-19 in Arabic. 

He saw a need to translate developments in medical research to the everyday Arabic reader to avoid misinformation and misconceptions about the coronavirus. 

A graduate of University of Manchester and University of Salford, where he earned his master’s and Ph.D degrees, Alosaimi is assistant professor of virology at the faculty of medicine, the head of the virology research team and chairperson of Research Laboratories at King Fahad Medical City.

The entrepreneurial award was presented to Dr. Wail Mousa, graduate of the University of Leeds. 

Mousa is the founding dean of the Entrepreneurship Institute and professor of electrical engineering at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He was the first Saudi to be sponsored by Dhahran Techno Valley for a Ph.D in electronics and electrical engineering from the University of Leeds.  

Sir Steve Smith, the UK prime minister’s special representative for education, attended the awards ceremony and told Arab News: “I am here for strategic partnership between the UK and Saudi Arabia in the education sector. The role was set up following a meeting between the two governments in 2018 and the aim is to build on over 60 years of collaboration between our two countries.”

He added: “Since I was appointed a year ago, we have started lots of initiatives, some really exciting announcements in areas of special educational needs and skills in colleges and universities.”

On progress of the Saudi-UK education partnership, Smith said that the partnership is developing well. 

“The key is to have deep relationship. We are trying to make sure we have momentum for the activities, and get the partners in the UK and Saudi Arabia to see it can benefit each other.”

Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh and Smith discussed ways to enhance educational, academic and research cooperation, and share best practices and expertise between the two countries.

The meeting addressed efforts by Saudi Arabia and the UK in education, fields of cooperation in public education, developing curricula, the program of the courses system for the secondary education, in addition to the education of talented students and students with disabilities.

The talks also covered cooperation in the university education, scientific research, accrediting academic qualifications, as well as academic and research partnerships among both countries’ universities, and enhancing cooperation in integrated education and remote education.

He said that universities from the two countries are coming closer to work together. The University of Birmingham on Tuesday signed an agreement with King Saud University, he added.


$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched

$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched
Updated 21 October 2021

$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched

$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched

PARIS: A Saudi-backed global award to encourage young talents in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics has been launched at the UN.
Al-Fozan Foundation, in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and with the support of the Saudi permanent delegation to UNESCO, made the announcement during the 212th session of the organization’s executive council.
The first international award at UNESCO to be offered by the Kingdom, it will celebrate the outstanding achievements of five young researchers from the UN agency’s five regions around the world and will offer prize money totaling $250,000.
Five jurors specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, will oversee the selection process and winners will be announced every two years.