Pilgrims perform Tashreeq in Mina following Eid Al-Adha

Pilgrims perform Tashreeq in Mina following Eid Al-Adha
Officials assure there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported during Hajj. (File/AFP)
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Updated 21 July 2021

Pilgrims perform Tashreeq in Mina following Eid Al-Adha

Pilgrims perform Tashreeq in Mina following Eid Al-Adha
  • Officials assure there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported during Hajj

MINA: Following strict precautionary measures, Hajj pilgrims returned to their tents in Mina on Wednesday after stoning the three pillars on the first day of Tashreeq, the period of three days that follow Eid Al-Adha.

The Ministry of Health — along with security forces, officials and government agencies participating in this year’s pilgrimage season — have assured that there were no cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reported during this Hajj, confirming that it was running smoothly and safely, as planned.

Stoning on the first day of Tashreeq continued until sundown.

Each pilgrim threw a total of 21 pebbles at the three pillars, beginning with the smallest one, followed by the middle pillar and finally the grand one, also known as Jamrat Aqaba. By the end of the second day, pilgrims will have thrown more than 3 million stones at the pillars.

Pilgrims perform the symbolic stone-pelting ritual in emulation of Prophet Muhammad, following also in the steps of Prophet Abraham, who is said to have pelted the devil at the same location.

Pilgrims usually spend the three nights of Tashreeq in Mina. However, it is permissible for those who, for any reason, cannot wait until the third day to leave Mina before sunset on the second day.

Taking precautionary measures into consideration, hundreds of pilgrims were seen photographing the pillars, tents and giant facility of the Jamarat Bridge.

Water sprinklers offered welcome refreshment to the partially cloudy weather of the location, where temperatures reached as high as 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).

Osama Al-Thubiani, a Saudi pilgrim who came with his mother to perform Hajj, told Arab News that he noticed no shortcomings in the services.

“Both my mother and I came here to perform Hajj for the first time. The services are excellent; everything we needed was available. The only shortcoming I can think of, if I may call it so, is the five or 10-minute delay of meals. However, this is not a problem at all, as it is very normal,” he said.  

Acting Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Essam bin Saeed, accompanied by some of his ministry’s top officials, carried out an inspection tour of the Jamarat Bridge to make sure that all the pilgrims were receiving the best possible services.

Security helicopters were also seen hovering in the sky above Mina to monitor the scene. On the ground, security forces and health officials were present in large numbers to provide the pilgrims with any assistance they might need. Their combined efforts have greatly helped facilitate the movement of pilgrims to and from their tents.

On Thursday, the second day of Tashreeq, pilgrims will throw stones at the three pillars again and spend the night in their tents for the third day. Those who want to leave Mina early can do so and head to the Grand Mosque for the farewell circumambulation, the final ritual of Hajj.

Due to the pandemic, it is expected that most pilgrims will leave Mina before sunset on the second day of Tashreeq. However, the integrated services will continue to be provided until the pilgrims complete their rituals and leave Makkah to return home.


Saudi Arabia announces return of in-person schooling for double-jabbed intermediate, secondary students

Saudi Arabia announces return of in-person schooling for double-jabbed intermediate, secondary students
Updated 01 August 2021

Saudi Arabia announces return of in-person schooling for double-jabbed intermediate, secondary students

Saudi Arabia announces return of in-person schooling for double-jabbed intermediate, secondary students
  • Primary, kindergarten pupils will return to classrooms once 70% of population has been double-jabbed or October 30

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday the return of in-person schooling for intermediate and secondary school students who have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

Primary school and kindergarten pupils will return to their classrooms once seventy percent of the Kingdom’s population has been inoculated with two doses or October 30, 2021, whichever comes first.

Over 27 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.

Saudi Arabia's Food and Drug Authority has so far approved the AstraZeneca, Pfizer-​BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna vaccines.

The Kingdom announced 12 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,084 new infections on Sunday.


Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 01 August 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 507,374
  • A total of 8,249 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 12 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,084 new infections on Sunday.
Of the new cases, 235 were recorded in Riyadh, 207 in Makkah, 154 in the Eastern Province, 94 in Asir, 69 in Madinah, 64 in Jazan, 58 in Hail, 40 in Najran, 23 in Tabuk, 17 in the Northern Borders region, 13 in Al-Baha, and three in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 507,374 after 1,285 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,249 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 27 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Cocoa bean drug smuggling attempt thwarted at Jeddah port

Cocoa bean drug smuggling attempt thwarted at Jeddah port
Updated 01 August 2021

Cocoa bean drug smuggling attempt thwarted at Jeddah port

Cocoa bean drug smuggling attempt thwarted at Jeddah port
  • The pills were found hidden inside bags of cocoa beans during an inspection
  • The authority stressed that it will continue to tighten customs controls over all imports, exports and travelers in order to combat smuggling

JEDDAH: The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority at Jeddah Islamic Port has foiled an attempt to smuggle 8.7 million Captagon pills.
The pills were found expertly hidden inside cocoa bean bags during an inspection. Three people were arrested by the General Directorate of Narcotics Control.
The authority stressed that it will continue to tighten customs controls over all imports, exports and travelers in order to combat smuggling by land, sea and air, and put an end to smugglers and their organized crimes.
The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority called on everyone to contact the Security Reports Center on 1910 to report any information related to smuggling and customs violations in strict confidentiality. It said that whistle-blowers will receive a financial reward if their information is correct.


Unvaccinated people rush to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia

Unvaccinated people rush to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia
Updated 01 August 2021

Unvaccinated people rush to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia

Unvaccinated people rush to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia
  • One dose or virus recovered must to attend events and enter establishments

JEDDAH: The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Saudi Arabia has increased in the past 10 days with the arrival of the Aug. 1 deadline that means unvaccinated residents are prohibited from entering establishments.

The acceleration comes as residents of the Kingdom are required to receive at least one jab or have recovered from COVID-19 to attend social, cultural, sports and entertainment gatherings, and enter private, government or commercial establishments. Health authorities have called on residents to register for the vaccine, and centers across the Kingdom have been urged to provide more time-slots to accommodate the growing numbers.
So far, 27 million vaccine doses have been delivered at a rate of 77 doses per hundred. More than 8.1 million so far have received two doses and more than 77.5 percent of the Kingdom’s 34.8 million have been vaccinated so far.
More than 1.46 million of the Kingdom’s elderly have been vaccinated to date.
Health officials continue to urge residents to receive the vaccine, adhere to social distancing measures and take precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, a Saudi research team has successfully developed the first Saudi vaccine against COVID-19 and is ready to carry out clinical trials after receiving the required approvals.

INNUMBERS

525,730 Total cases

506,089 Recoveries

8,237 Deaths

Led by Dr. Iman Almansour, the research team from the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC) at the Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam published the findings, “Immunogenicity of Multiple Doses of pDNA Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2,” in the  Pharmaceuticals Journal on MDPI, an open-access publishing website for academics.
On Saturday, 1,146 new cases were reported by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health, raising the total number to 525,730.
Three regions reported numbers above the 100 case mark, Riyadh leading with 243 cases, the Eastern Province with 209 and Makkah with 196 cases. Jouf continues to be the region with the lowest count with only eight cases on Saturday.
There are currently 11,404 active cases, 1,377 of which are in critical care, a decline of 18 in the past 24 hours.
A total of 1,086 new recoveries were reported, raising the total number of recoveries to 506,089. The Kingdom’s recovery rate is currently holding steady at 96.2 percent.
Riyadh led the cities with the highest recovery count as 232 recoveries were reported, Taif with 99 and Jeddah with 64 recoveries.
A total of 11 new fatalities due to complications from COVID-19 have been reported, raising the death tally to 8,237.
A total of 113,300 PCR tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours, raising the total number to more than 25 million tests so far.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development’s control teams in Makkah region carried out 20,137 inspection tours in July on private sector enterprises, to ensure abidance by the precautionary and preventive measures against the coronavirus disease and compliance with nationalization and labor regulations.
During the inspections, 3,755 violations of labor regulations and precautionary measures were found, and 813 warnings issued.
The ministry urged owners of enterprises to abide by all precautionary measures at workplaces to curb the spread of the virus, and to abide by the ministry’s regulations to avoid incurring penalties.
Inspection tours will continue across businesses in all regions of the Kingdom, the ministry addedd, calling on everyone in the region to report breaches and violations through its call center (19911) or its Ma3an lil Rasd app.


British-Nigerian photographer gaining popularity in the Saudi art scene for her black and white photographs of KSA

Monochromatic photographs add a timeless quality to an image. With the help of social media, Saudi Arabia is in the spotlight as outsiders finally look in. (Supplied)
Monochromatic photographs add a timeless quality to an image. With the help of social media, Saudi Arabia is in the spotlight as outsiders finally look in. (Supplied)
Updated 01 August 2021

British-Nigerian photographer gaining popularity in the Saudi art scene for her black and white photographs of KSA

Monochromatic photographs add a timeless quality to an image. With the help of social media, Saudi Arabia is in the spotlight as outsiders finally look in. (Supplied)
  • British-Nigerian photographer gaining popularity in the Saudi art scene for her black and white photographs of the Kingdom’s varied architecture, cultural scene, street life and more
  • Saudi Arabia through Folake’s eyes

JEDDAH: With the thousands of pictures coming out of Saudi Arabia in full color these days, it is refreshing to find calm in monochromatic photographs, especially when they have been snapped by expats who see beauty through a lens.
Monochromatic photographs add a timeless quality to an image. With the help of social media, Saudi Arabia is in the spotlight as outsiders finally look in.
British-Nigerian photographer Folake Abbas, a lecturer teaching academic writing and research methods to engineering students at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz University since 2013, has been taking photographs for as long as she can remember, and is gaining popularity in the Saudi art scene for her black and white photographs of the Kingdom’s varied architecture, cultural scene, street life and more.
She started taking photographs in the Kingdom “almost immediately after I arrived in Jeddah. A friend took me to Al-Balad and I fell in love with the place immediately, and I’ve had a very strong connection to Al-Balad ever since,” she told Arab News.

I will always remember Saudi Arabia with a lot of fondness, for it was here that I discovered myself as a photographer.

Folake Abbas

“A lot of people there know me because I take their photographs most of the time — it’s a place that I’m drawn to and that I feel very comfortable photographing. I’ve been there many times and have taken thousands and thousands of photographs to attest to that,” she added.
Abbas has developed her style through the years, experimenting with different tones of gray and shadows ever since she, alongside a group of fellow Nigerian photographers while visiting home, challenged each other to switch from colored to monochrome as an experiment for the whole of 2019, participating in the hashtag #2019ayearinblackandwhite on Instagram, and she’s never looked back.
She told Arab News that she’s been inspired by some of the greatest black and white photographers of all time such as Ansel Adams, Vivian Maier, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mary Ellen Mark and Dorothea Lange.

HIGHLIGHT

Abbas has developed her style through the years, experimenting with different tones of gray and shadows ever since she, alongside a group of fellow Nigerian photographers while visiting home, challenged each other to switch from colored to monochrome as an experiment for the whole of 2019, participating in the hashtag #2019ayearinblackandwhite on Instagram, and she’s never looked back.

With time, she began wondering about what more the Kingdom has to offer and what hidden gems can be discovered. She’s frequented nearby Taif, Dammam and a few other cities throughout the years but it was only after the coronavirus disease pandemic hit did she realize she needed to see more.
“I hadn’t really moved around that much, it wasn’t until last year after the lockdown was lifted, knowing I couldn’t leave the country I thought, you know what? this is my time to start to explore Saudi Arabia, there’s something more for it and I’ve got to get around,” she said. “The idea of having to stay cooped up in my apartment for the whole summer was just something I wasn’t ready to entertain.”
She then started traveling around the Kingdom as a conscious decision, booking trips, connecting with people, and taking different tours.
“When you live in a concrete jungle, there isn’t much greenery around here, and it’s very rugged, you just have no idea of what a country looks like. It’s not until you hit the road and go deep into a valley or around a bendy road such as in Taif that you really get to appreciate the country that you live in,” said Abbas.
She said it was in Saudi Arabia that she identified as a photographer the most. “I will always remember Saudi Arabia with a lot of fondness, for it was here that I discovered myself as a photographer. As I mentioned, I’ve always taken photographs but being in Saudi Arabia really solidified that for me. All I want to do is take photographs here, that’s all I want to do.”

Monochromatic photographs add a timeless quality to an image. With the help of social media, Saudi Arabia is in the spotlight as outsiders finally look in. (Supplied)

Folake participated in two group exhibitions, the first in November 2017 in Jeddah, and January 2021 in Riyadh and has had three solo exhibitions — October 2018, December 2019, both in Jeddah and the third in Riyadh in February 2020.
She visited AlUla in March and said the artwork she composed there is the closest to her heart, highlighting that it is a majestic and timeless place.
“What I love about the photos that I took there is the fact that the whole place itself sort of makes you feel like you are in a time that is long forgotten and so to be in this place that is absolutely dripping with so much history going back thousands and thousands of years, to be in that space in itself was nothing short of spectacular. The photos that I took and loved the most (were of) the tomb in Hegra; it’s just a majestic building.”
She said she experienced Saudi hospitality firsthand throughout her adventures in the Kingdom and highlighted their polite traits.
“I’m very impressed as to how open the people I meet when I travel are. They will give you directions, they will get people to come and help you, they will even take you to where you want to go,” she said. “That is really endearing to me.” She added: “I’ve traveled a lot around the world and I’ve had wonderful experiences, but nothing quite like this.”