Hajj 2021: No COVID-19 infections or other illnesses among pilgrims

Muslim pilgrims pray at the Namira Mosque on Arafat Day, the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage, in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on July 19, 2021. (AFP)
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Muslim pilgrims pray at the Namira Mosque on Arafat Day, the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage, in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on July 19, 2021. (AFP)
Hajj 2021: No COVID-19 infections or other illnesses among pilgrims
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No COVID-19 infections or other illnesses among Hajj pilgrims. (SPA)
Hajj 2021: No COVID-19 infections or other illnesses among pilgrims
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Muslim pilgrims walk on the plain of Arafat during the annual Haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia July 19, 2021. (REUTERS)
Hajj 2021: No COVID-19 infections or other illnesses among pilgrims
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Muslim pilgrims gather to perform noon and afternoon prayers at Namira Mosque in Mount Arafat, southeast of the Saudi holy city of Makkah on July 19, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 21 July 2021

Hajj 2021: No COVID-19 infections or other illnesses among pilgrims

Muslim pilgrims pray at the Namira Mosque on Arafat Day, the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage, in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on July 19, 2021. (AFP)
  • More policemen were present to supervise COVID-19 health measures while also looking out for the pilgrims’ general well-being

JEDDAH: Pilgrims participating in this year’s Hajj rituals successfully complied with health measures spread across all holy sites as the Saudi Ministry of Health (MoH) announced no coronavirus (COVID-19) infections or other illnesses among pilgrims.
MoH spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly made the announcement on Tuesday during a joint press conference with the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
During this year’s Hajj, the MoH treated cases of physical exhaustion along with 651 clinical checkups, 396 emergency cases, 37 cases of heat exhaustion, 26 hospitalization admissions, and six successful cardiac catheterizations.
Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub talked about the importance of the additional safety mechanisms applied to this year’s Hajj. More policemen were present to supervise COVID-19 health measures while also looking out for the pilgrims’ general well-being. He also said 356 violators during Hajj were reported. Most were trying to reach specific holy sites in Muzdalifah, Mount Arafat, and the Grand Mosque. “I would like to reinforce the importance of committing to the Hajj safety measures and avoiding violations,” Al-Shalhoub said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia confirmed 14 new COVID-19- related deaths on Tuesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,075. The Ministry of Health confirmed 1,273 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 512,142 people have now contracted the disease.
It was also announced on Tuesday that under the implementation of King Salman’s directives, the General Directorate of Passports extended the validity of residencies for expatriates outside the Kingdom, visit visas, exit visas, and return visas. They will all be automatically extended, without fees or financial compensation, through Aug. 31.


Saudi Arabia records 2 COVID-19 deaths, 49 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 2 COVID-19 deaths, 49 new cases
Updated 22 sec ago

Saudi Arabia records 2 COVID-19 deaths, 49 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 2 COVID-19 deaths, 49 new cases
  • Health ministry says 38 patients have recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours
  • Ministry of Commerce records 742 violations against precautionary measures in past two weeks

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed two new COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,767.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 49 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 548,018 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 90 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 16, followed by Jeddah with nine, Jubail with three, and Makkah and Al-Darb confirmed two cases each.
The health ministry also announced that 38 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 537,037.
Over 44.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 20.8 million people have been fully vaccinated.


Health ministry spokesman Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly praised the active role of the community in complying to the precautionary measures, which has led to a significant decrease in the number of critical cases and new daily infections throughout the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce said it carried out 46,887 inspection visits during the past two weeks, to ensure that commercial establishments were adhering to coronavirus preventative measures. Authorities recorded 742 violations.
A fine of up to SR100,000 ($26,660) is imposed on first time offenders and the fine is doubled for repeat offenders and the facility risks closure.
Saudi municipalities have also ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of the Eastern Province carried out 1,340 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities on Monday, and found 78 businesses in violation of the precautionary measures.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 242 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.92 million.


Saudi interior ministry’s high-tech revolution draws crowds at Dubai’s GITEX

Saudi interior ministry’s high-tech revolution draws crowds at Dubai’s GITEX
Updated 19 October 2021

Saudi interior ministry’s high-tech revolution draws crowds at Dubai’s GITEX

Saudi interior ministry’s high-tech revolution draws crowds at Dubai’s GITEX
  • Saudi pavilions have managed to steal the limelight, receiving the largest turnout of visitors and specialists in the field of technology and smart solutions
  • The ministry’s pavilion is showcasing a revolution in digital transformation and smart solutions in the Kingdom thanks to the Absher platform

DUBAI: The Saudi Ministry of Interior is taking part in the Dubai GITEX Technology Week 2021 held at the Dubai World Trade Centre by showcasing a myriad of entities and companies.

Saudi pavilions have managed to steal the limelight, receiving the largest turnout of visitors and specialists in the field of technology and smart solutions.

The ministry’s pavilion is showcasing a revolution in digital transformation and smart solutions in the Kingdom thanks to the Absher platform.

Eng. Abdullah Al-Rabiah, undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior for security capabilities and chairman of the supervisory committee of the Ministry’s pavilion at the exhibition, said that the ministry is taking part in the event for the seventh time.

This year’s slogan is “Technical Solutions for a Safe Homeland,” and the exhibition is focusing on a unified platform featuring various security and service authorities in the ministry through five main axes, he added.

The topics covered are: Digital enablers and their role in governance to serve customers, ministry services for pilgrims, dealing with events, crises and work procedures, the future of services and security operations, and the role of modern technology in combating crime and making cities safer.

The technology behind the Absher app is also showcased. The mobile service allows people in the Kingdom to use a variety of government services. The app helps ministry staff manage resources and digitally implement internal procedures and support services for employees.

The ministry’s role in preserving the environment and its initiatives in the field of innovation are also being highlighted at the pavilion, with topics and issues presented in interactive ways, introducing visitors to the efforts and achievements of participating sectors.

Al-Rabiah said that the Saudi government has invested in the Ministry of Interior to improve the quality of services provided in light of Saudi Vision 2030.

“Other projects launched under the umbrella of Vision 2030 include the Unified Security Operations Center 911 project, the Midan application, which has witnessed a big deal of digital transformation, as well as the services provided by the Absher platform, one of the largest government platforms in the Kingdom offering 333 services to some 23 million users and beneficiaries,” he added.

The Vision Realization Office in the Ministry of Interior submitted a working paper under the theme “The Ministry of Interior within Saudi Vision 2030” at the Leaders Vision conference held on the sidelines of GITEX Week.

Sultan Al-Mutairi, the head of the Vision Realization Office who submitted the working paper, told Arab News that the research shed light on the ministry’s efforts under the Quality of Life and Doyof Al-Rahman programs, in addition to the contributions of the ministry within Saudi Vision 2030, including the development of e-government and rollout of high-quality services to pilgrims.

“The paper also highlighted the Kingdom’s progress in international security indicators and the contribution of the Ministry of Interior to a number of initiatives and future projects within the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” said Al-Mutairi.

Col. Adel Al-Asmari, director of the Unified Security Operations Center 911 project in Riyadh, said that the center not only highlighted technical shifts in receiving and passing security communications, but also its efforts in managing crises and disasters through a specialized section comprising all security, service and emergency sectors, which enables it to manage any crises — such as the COVID-19 pandemic — professionally and comprehensively.

The Saudi Export Development Authority is also taking part in GITEX Technology Week 2021 with the participation of more than 26 Saudi ICT companies.

It comes under the umbrella of the “Made in Saudi Arabia” program, a national initiative of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, which aims to increase domestic consumption and the market share of domestic goods and services, increase Saudi non-oil exports in priority export markets and enhance the attractiveness of the Saudi industrial sector to domestic and foreign investment.

The Saudi Technology and Security Comprehensive Control Co. Ltd. (Tahakom) is also taking part through a package of advanced technical programs and solutions. Tahakom’s pavilion showcases its capabilities in public safety and intelligent mobility by introducing new products and innovative technologies, such as smart city solutions, smart parking solutions, traffic safety software technologies as well as supercomputers.

The exhibition saw also the participation of various Saudi service agencies and companies, including the Sakani program, one of the most prominent technical programs launched in the Kingdom, which offers numerous technical solutions to beneficiaries and people seeking housing.


Saudi tourism body opens Japan bureau alongside the Discover the World project

Saudi tourism body opens Japan bureau alongside the Discover the World project
Updated 19 October 2021

Saudi tourism body opens Japan bureau alongside the Discover the World project

Saudi tourism body opens Japan bureau alongside the Discover the World project
  • Saudi Arabian Government Tourism Bureau has presence at 11 locations in 21 countries

TOKYO: Saudi Arabian Government Tourism Bureau (STA) set up a Japan branch in Tokyo with the travel project company Discover the World, Japanese magazine Travel Vision reported.

STA currently has tourism promotion bureaus at 11 locations in 21 countries and aims to set up additional four bureaus in the future, it said. 

“We organized a global professional team to introduce to visitors a variety of cultural experiences, world-class historical heritage, and Arab’s authentic hospitality,” STA CEO Fahad Hamiraddin said in a magazine interview.

Shigehiko Okuda will assume the post as Japan bureau chief in charge of sales and marketing activities for tourism and general consumers.

Saudi Arabia has recently lifted the ban on tourism visas against 49 countries, including Japan, but resumed providing tourist visas for only those vaccinated against COVID-19.

This story originally appeared in Arab News Japan


Who’s Who: Hamad Al-Saghir, chief marketing and customer experience officer at NeoLeap

Who’s Who: Hamad Al-Saghir, chief marketing and customer experience officer at NeoLeap
Updated 19 October 2021

Who’s Who: Hamad Al-Saghir, chief marketing and customer experience officer at NeoLeap

Who’s Who: Hamad Al-Saghir, chief marketing and customer experience officer at NeoLeap

Hamad Al-Saghir has been the chief marketing and customer experience officer at NeoLeap since May 2021.
With the vision to be the Kingdom’s leading payment solutions service provider, NeoLeap is a licensed financial global digital solutions company, whose values revolve around inventiveness, simplicity and trust. It has recently described the Saudi market as large and promising. It has also announced that it has plans to operate beyond the borders in the near future.
With over 20 years of experience in the information and communication technology sector, strategic planning, revenue growth and organization development, Al-Saghir has successfully managed complex national ICT projects across Saudi Arabia.
As a decisive leader and member of the ICT committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he is focused on delivering practical outcomes that impact stakeholders across the ICT ecosystem in the country.
Prior to joining NeoLeap, Al-Saghir served for more than three years as the general manager of the business unit at Zain KSA.
He was responsible for the business-to-business unit with over 300 employees and revenue of over SR1 billion. He was also part of the executive team to develop a five-year B2B strategy and won the company’s “outstanding performance” award in 2018.
For nearly a year before that, he worked as the general manager at the International Data Corporation, the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. 
At IDC, Al-Saghir led a team of over 50 employees and reported directly to the MEA vice president.
Previously, he was the senior service sales manager at Cisco for about 11 years, beginning in 2006. There, he managed end-to-end customer experience lifecycle processes, led the development of cross-functional Cisco services team, and built trusted relationships with key public and private sector entities within Saudi Arabia.
The company selected him for the “sales champion” and the “top service manager of the year” awards in 2010.
For around two years, beginning in 2004, he was the sales and business alliance director at STC, where he built turnkey partnerships with global service providers and IT vendors.  
From 1999 to 2005, he served as the business alliance manager at Ebttikar Technology Co.
He also worked as the national sales and marketing manager at Al-Faisaliah Group, where he succeeded to achieve a sales target of SR50 million while leading the company’s sales and marketing teams.
Al-Saghir received a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1999 from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
He also attended a sales management program at the University of Toledo, Ohio, US.


Saudi Interior Ministry’s hi-tech feats shine at Dubai GITEX Technology Week

Saudi Interior Ministry’s hi-tech feats shine at Dubai GITEX Technology Week
Updated 19 October 2021

Saudi Interior Ministry’s hi-tech feats shine at Dubai GITEX Technology Week

Saudi Interior Ministry’s hi-tech feats shine at Dubai GITEX Technology Week

DUBAI: Prince Dr. Bandar bin Abdullah bin Mishari, assistant minister of interior for technology affairs, expressed his pride in the ministry’s successes through its presence at Dubai GITEX Technology Week for the seventh year in a row. 
Prince Bandar made the remarks as he visited the ministry’s pavilion.
The ministry is participating in this year’s event under the slogan “Technical Solutions for a Safe Homeland.”
The topics covered are: Digital enablers and their role in governance to serve customers, ministry services for pilgrims, dealing with events, crises and work procedures, the future of services and security operations, and the role of modern technology in combating crime and making cities safer.
They also include the optimal use of technology through the Absher app, which allows people in the Kingdom to use a variety of government services, to help ministry staff manage resources and digitally implement internal procedures and support services for employees and the ministry’s community.
The ministry’s role in preserving the environment and its initiatives in the field of innovation are also being highlighted at the pavilion, with the topics and issues presented in interactive ways. 
The aim is to highlight the ministry’s achievements in light of the Saudi Vision 2030.
Prince Bandar toured the pavilion and was briefed on the electronic services and apps provided by the bodies and sectors participating in the pavilion, which is next to the pavilion of the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
It comes in light of enhancing the presence of government agencies in the coming years, showing them all as an interconnected digital system in the exhibition.
This helps to highlight the level of digital maturity and harmony between all Saudi government agencies to visitors.