Saudi Arabia confirms 14 COVID-19 deaths, 731 new infections

The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 203 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.30 million. (File/SPA)
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 203 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.30 million. (File/SPA)
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Updated 09 August 2021

Saudi Arabia confirms 14 COVID-19 deaths, 731 new infections

Saudi Arabia confirms 14 COVID-19 deaths, 731 new infections
  • Health ministry spokesman slams ‘lies and fallacies’ over vaccines, says they played major role in lowering epidemiological curve
  • Sports ministry increases capacity of stadiums to 60%, restricts access to fans who are fully vaccinated

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 14 new COVID-19 related deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,334.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 731 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 533,516 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 10,200 remain active and 1,405 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in Makkah with 151, followed by the Eastern Province with 132, the capital Riyadh with 129, Jazan recorded 67, and Asir confirmed 60 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 620 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 514,982.

Over 29.6 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date through 587 centers.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said at a weekly press conference that the country’s epidemiological curve was witnessing a noticeable decline in the number of new cases, stressing that vaccines had played a major role in this development.
He slammed claims that children had died after being jabbed. “They are lies and fallacies that have nothing to do with reality,” he said.
The country is preparing for students to return to the classroom by the end of this month, with the Health Ministry and Education Ministry encouraging people to take the vaccine and not fall victim to rumors.
“Don’t be deceived,” said Al-Abd Al-Aly. “The vaccines are safe and effective, 99 percent of those in intensive care units due to COVID-19 are not vaccinated. Experts around the world classify the current stage of the pandemic as the ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated.’”
The campaign to fully vaccinate students above the age of 12 and education staff continued apace, according to Education Ministry spokesperson Ibtisam Al-Shehri.
“The return to school is the most important factor to indicate a real return to normal life,” she told the press conference, saying that parents must ensure their children did not miss their vaccine appointments.
Fully vaccinated school students at the intermediate and secondary levels will be able to attend school from the start of the new academic year. 
But primary students will continue their education online, as will those who are at intermediate level but younger than 12.
“These measures will continue until the end of October or until we achieve herd immunity by 70 percent, whichever comes first,” Al-Shehri added.
There are 3.1 million students at the intermediate and secondary levels in Saudi Arabia and 45 percent have received one dose, 19 percent have had both, and 6 percent have recovered from COVID-19.
During monitoring inspection tours in the past week, authorities recorded 21,967 violations of precautionary regulations imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19 , according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Interior.
The statistics indicated that the region of Riyadh recorded the highest number with 7,214 violations, followed by the Eastern Province (3,022), Madinah (2,189), Qassim (2,119), Makkah (1,836), Hail (1,818), Jouf (1,331), the Northern Borders (666), Tabuk (541), Baha (334), Jazan (316), Asir (314), and Najran (267).
Jeddah Municipality closed 37 commercial establishments for violating the preventive measures, while field teams also recorded 56 violations during over 7,000 monitoring rounds carried out over the weekend.

The Ministry of Sports announced it will raise the capacity for mass attendance of sports competitions for the 2021-2022 sports season to 60 percent instead of 40 percent, based on updates issued by authorities on developments in the coronavirus.
The ministry has made a number of updates and amendments to the measures regarding mass attendance of stadiums, and has restricted it to sports fans (over 12 years old) who have taken two doses of the vaccine.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened three mosques in the Qassim region after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after three people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 1,975 within 183 days.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 203 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.30 million.


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group
Updated 22 October 2021

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group

Abdulrahman Al-Nimari has been the chief information security officer at Rock Solid Group since August.

A cybersecurity expert and regular conference speaker, he has more than 25 years of experience in the information technology and cybersecurity sectors.

At RSG, he is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic, long-term information security strategy and roadmap to ensure that data assets are adequately protected.

He has been an independent cybersecurity architect and consultant since 2019.

From September 2017 to June 2019, he was lead cybersecurity systems architect for ManTech International Corp. where he was in charge of developing security strategies and utilizing new technologies to enhance security capabilities and implement improvements.

Between March and August 2017, he held the position of chief enterprise security architect at Security Matterz.

Al-Nimari was technical manager and senior security consultant at Riyadh Business Machines from August 2013 to February 2017, and an IT manager at the Ministry of Education between January 2008 and July 2013.

During his time with the ministry, he also worked as cybersecurity team leader on a major education system project and was a network and system administrator and supervisor.

He gained a bachelor’s degree in English from Umm Al-Qura University.

Al-Nimari has headed numerous cybersecurity initiatives and projects for government and private-sector bodies.

He pointed out that all members of society had a duty to be aware about cybersecurity. “It is our role to participate in protecting the cyberspace of our beloved Saudi Arabia,” he said.


Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement

Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement
Updated 22 October 2021

Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement

Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement

CAIRO: Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud discussed the Iran nuclear talks with the European Union envoy coordinating talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, Enrique Mora, the Saudi Foreign ministry said on Thursday.
“They discussed developments regarding the Iranian nuclear program talks, and international efforts to ensure that Iran does not violate international agreements and treaties in this regard,” it added in a statement.


‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions
Updated 22 October 2021

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

ALULA: Imagine stepping back into a time before cell phones, emails, or even paper. During this era, documenting important moments was simplified to sketching on rocks.
This is Ikmah mountain, or the “open library” as it is referred to by AlUla’s locals. AlUla was a highlight on the trading route many took through the Arabian Peninsula. Travelers stopped at the mountain to document their stories or carve their names for those who came after them.
“We call Ikmah the ‘open library.’ If you want to know why it has this name, have a look around for a few seconds and you will see inscriptions all over the mountain,” Amal Aljahani, an expert Rawi storyteller, told Arab News.

Ikmah has over 500 inscriptions from the Dadan and Lihyan civilization. The earliest texts from the mountain have been studied and translated by historians and archeologists and have been dated back to the ninth and 10th century B.C. 
The languages in the mountain include Aramaic, Thamudic, Dadanitic, Minaen, Nabatean, Greek, Latin, and Arabic. An important area for historians, Arabic linguistics experts, and archaeologists, the mountain offers a look back into the pre-Arabic era.
Tourists from the Kingdom and international visitors gather for hours to sit in front of the high peaks and observe the delicate techniques of the ancient language that turned into the modern Arabic letters we know today.

Some inscriptions were written by the region’s professional scribes while others were merely sketches by travellers and locals passing by years ago.
Many of these messages differed in meaning, some surviving inscriptions are names written in the ancient Arabic text, but many involve tales of the ongoing events of the local community.
These inscriptions described the kings who ruled the land, the religious beliefs of the people, and sometimes notes for other visitors.
Ikmah held a high place in the hearts of the locals and travelers. It was a sacred ground for pagan worship and sacrifice along with documentation.  One of the inscriptions on the mountains was written by a woman named “Mirwa,” who carved her name into the rocks and detailed an offering she made to her deity.

“The woman used to come here and give her deity offerings to bless her and her children. The inscription says the deity blessed her and her children. Those are the kinds of things the people wrote here on this beautiful mountain,” Aljahani said.
Mirwa returned to add another inscription that her prayers were answered and her sons were blessed.
Some of these inscriptions are personal, while others are names or drawings of animals and musical instruments.
The oldest inscription in the Islamic era — known as the Naqsh Zuhayr — and the earliest glimpses into the Arabic language are documented on the east side. The inscriptions date back to 644 A.D.
The mountain hosts different inscription methods, Aljahani said, such as “carving inside the alphabet to be clearer.”
He added: “The second way is what we call the 3D way. It is the hardest method. They beautifully carved in between the alphabet letters using sand stones for the message to be clearer.”
In 2017, the Royal Commission of AlUla closed the mountain to begin preparation for the public to visit. Ikmah is now prepared and open to the public under the commission’s supervision.

 

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world
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Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation

Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation
Updated 21 October 2021

Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation

Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Education Minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh met with the Egyptian Ambassador to the Kingdom, Ahmed Farouk Tawfiq, to enhance joint cooperation between the two countries in the education field.
The two sides also discussed the development of scientific and research partnerships between the countries’ universities along with the exchange of expertise and experiences in educational technologies.
The talks focused on joint cooperation between the Kingdom and Egypt in educational programs and ways to benefit from the development plans and programs implemented by educational institutions in both countries.
Saudi Ministry of Education’s undersecretary for international cooperation, Saleh Al-Qassumi, undersecretary for public education, Mohammed Al-Muqbil, undersecretary for university education, Mohammed Al-Adib, general supervisor of the general administration of media and communication, Ahmed Al-Jumaiyah, and supervisor of the public relations department, Saleh Al-Thubaiti, also attended the meeting.


Pilgrim services in the spotlight at GITEX Dubai

Pilgrim services in the spotlight at GITEX Dubai
Updated 21 October 2021

Pilgrim services in the spotlight at GITEX Dubai

Pilgrim services in the spotlight at GITEX Dubai

DUBAI: As part of the Saudi Ministry of Interior’s pavilion at GITEX Technology Week 2021 in Dubai this week, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah showcased the state-of-the-art technologies it employs to deliver the services the Kingdom provides to pilgrims and other visitors.
They include artificial intelligence technologies that are used as part of the ministry’s digital platform to help pilgrims.
They access the platform using smart cards that contain key information, including the details of their visit and medical data. This is used to organize their journeys.
The ministry’s aim in adopting the latest technology is to provide upgraded services and develop the work of the pilgrim-services system as a whole.