Saudi Arabia gives $133k to families of health workers who died of COVID-19

Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (REUTERS file photo)
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Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (REUTERS file photo)
Health workers prepare to perform nose swab tests during a drive through coronavirus test campaign held in Diriyah hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File/AFP)
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Health workers prepare to perform nose swab tests during a drive through coronavirus test campaign held in Diriyah hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File/AFP)
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Updated 09 August 2021

Saudi Arabia gives $133k to families of health workers who died of COVID-19

Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (REUTERS file photo)
  • The move applies to workers in the government and private health sector, whether Saudi or non-Saudi
  • Health Ministry spokesman slams ‘lies and fallacies’ over virus vaccines

JEDDAH: The Saudi government has begun distributing SR500,000 ($133,333) in financial assistance to families of healthcare workers who died of COVID-19.

The aid was to recognize the healthcare workers’ service and sacrifices during the pandemic, according to the health minister and chairman of the Saudi Health Council, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.
Grant beneficiaries include relatives of Saudi and expatriate workers, including civilian and military personnel in the public and private healthcare sectors.
The grant distribution came as Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly confirmed at a press conference on Sunday 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-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.’”

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More than 29.9 million vaccines have been administered so far in Saudi Arabia.

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.
Saudi Arabia reported 731 new cases on Sunday, raising the total number of infections to 533,516. Of the new cases, 151 were in Makkah, 132 were in the Eastern Province, and 129 were in Riyadh.
There have been an additional 620 patient recoveries, raising this total to 514,982, and a further 14 coronavirus-related deaths to take the death toll to 8,334. More than 29.9 million vaccines have been administered so far in Saudi Arabia, at a rate of 359,695 per day.


‘Asking for oil is simply wrong’: White House press secretary

‘Asking for oil is simply wrong’: White House press secretary
Updated 27 May 2022

‘Asking for oil is simply wrong’: White House press secretary

‘Asking for oil is simply wrong’: White House press secretary
  • Two senior US officials visited Saudi Arabia for talks this week

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said two senior US officials visited Saudi Arabia this week to “review engagement” on “energy security,” and not to ask for an increase in oil exports.

“Asking for oil is simply wrong. That’s the way that we see it and a misunderstanding of both the complexity of that issue as well as our multi-faceted discussions with the Saudis,” Jean-Pierre said on Thursday. 

The press secretary also said OPEC+ will make its own decision as it relates to oil and added, “We are in consultation with all relevant producers about market conditions including Saudi Arabia.”

 

Meeting senior Saudi officials in Riyadh were Brett McGurk, Biden’s top White House adviser on the Middle East, and Amos Hochstein, the State Department's energy envoy.

McGurk and Hochstein were in the region to follow up on conversations that include Iran’s destabilizing activities, and other regional issues, Jean-Pierre told reporters.


Surplus oil revenues will be invested in ‘resilience,’ Saudi Economy Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim tells Arab News

Surplus oil revenues will be invested in ‘resilience,’ Saudi Economy Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim tells Arab News
Updated 27 May 2022

Surplus oil revenues will be invested in ‘resilience,’ Saudi Economy Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim tells Arab News

Surplus oil revenues will be invested in ‘resilience,’ Saudi Economy Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim tells Arab News
  • Census 2022 will affect public services, goods made available to Kingdom’s residents, he says during interview in Davos
  • Saudi delegation of ministers shares knowledge and experience of past 7 years with top policymakers, investors, private sector, industry leaders

DAVOS: Surplus revenues from oil production will go into investing in “resilience,” the Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim has said, referring to paying off debt, replenishing reserves, and accelerating transformational projects throughout the Kingdom.

“It’s ultimately going to help the private sector or help our investments that will open the door in front of the private sector to increase its activity,” he told Arab News at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

With a surplus of $15 billion, some of the Public Investment Fund’s owned and led projects will be given support so that they “are delivered either sooner or more effective,” he said.

Al-Ibrahim also noted the Kingdom’s census plans and urged all residents of Saudi Arabia to register.

“It’s very important, it will affect our planning and then it will affect the services and public goods that will be made available to all residents of the Kingdom, citizens, and expats,” he added.

The census had been set to launch in 2020 but was delayed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic and the strict lockdown measures introduced by the Saudi government to help stop the spread of the virus.

While the last census was in 2010, the minister was confident that technological advancements since then would ensure that the new data collected would be “sustainable.”

He said: “We don’t want to say in nine years from now, ‘this data is nine years old, and I can’t trust it.’ No, we did many more surveys, we did more projects, components that got you refreshed data.”

Al-Ibrahim was part of a delegation of seven Saudi ministers who participated in key forum events including panel discussions.

The delegation was headed by Minister of State Ibrahim Al-Assaf, and included Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha, and Assistant Minister of Tourism Princess Haifa Al-Saud.

“I think our ambition from this meeting as a delegation is to deepen our conversations into the agenda-setting process, and we’ve achieved this with what might be a smaller number of ministers. But in the number of engagements, the top-tier engagements, it’s probably one of the highest.

“It’s an opportunity for us to rub shoulders with policymakers, investors, private sector and industry leaders because we have a wealth of knowledge, we have a lot of lessons learned from the last seven years that we can share.

Al-Ibrahim added: “But also, we have so many challenges that we’re still tackling that we can partner up and everybody’s interested, everybody’s looking at it.”


Saudi crown prince, Greek PM discuss boosting joint cooperation

Saudi crown prince, Greek PM discuss boosting joint cooperation
Updated 27 May 2022

Saudi crown prince, Greek PM discuss boosting joint cooperation

Saudi crown prince, Greek PM discuss boosting joint cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call on Thursday from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Kingdom’s official SPA news agency reported.
During the call, they reviewed the bilateral relations between the two countries, and discussed opportunities for joint cooperation in a number of fields.


Saudi minister hails Saudi Arabia’s role in public health

Saudi minister hails Saudi Arabia’s role in public health
Updated 27 May 2022

Saudi minister hails Saudi Arabia’s role in public health

Saudi minister hails Saudi Arabia’s role in public health
  • Al-Jalajel said that the Kingdom is one of the first countries that, during its leadership of the G20, initiated the extraordinary summit to combine efforts and contain the pandemic

GENEVA: Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel has praised the contributions made by the Kingdom to support global public health.

His remarks came during a speech he delivered at the 75th session of the World Health Organization General Assembly in Geneva, where he headed the Kingdom’s delegation.

Al-Jalajel said that the Kingdom is one of the first countries that, during its leadership of the G20, initiated the extraordinary summit to combine efforts and contain the pandemic, which resulted in unprecedented global cooperation.

Al-Jalajel noted that the Kingdom contributed to the establishment of the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools and COVAX Facility initiatives.

The Saudi minister further said that the total aid provided by the Kingdom through the initiatives and with direct support to developing countries amounted to approximately $770 million.

Al-Jalajel congratulated WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on his reelection for a second five-year term and the renewal of the international community’s confidence in his leadership. 


No entry to Makkah without permit for expats

No entry to Makkah without permit for expats
Updated 27 May 2022

No entry to Makkah without permit for expats

No entry to Makkah without permit for expats
  • Measure will maintain order and security around holy sites, experts say

MAKKAH: The General Directorate of Public Security has required expatriates wishing to enter Makkah for Hajj to obtain a permit from authorities starting Thursday.

For expatriates to enter the holy city, one of the following documents is required: An entry permit to work in the holy sites issued by the competent authority, a residency permit (iqama) issued from Makkah, an Umrah permit or a Hajj permit.

Brig. Gen. Sami Al-Shuwairekh, the spokesman for Public Security, said that the measure was in line with the regulations for the Hajj pilgrimage for this year.

“As per these instructions, only expatriates who obtain a permit for entry to Makkah will be allowed into the holy city from Thursday. They can obtain permits from the competent authorities. All vehicles and residents that do not have the required documents will be turned back,” Al-Shuwairekh said.

Ahmed Saleh Al-Halabi, who specializes in Hajj and Umrah services, told Arab News that the changes are a result of years of monitoring entry to the holy sites. Practical measures can safely organize the entry of residents to Makkah, he said.

“This is in order to eradicate all sorts of infiltration of the holy sites, especially for residents who do not hold permits, and who are on vacation from their work and head to Makkah to work, or stay with their relatives and friends, and then infiltrate the holy sites to perform the pilgrimage. And as a result, they stay on sidewalks and sleep there which would impact the environment and the level of public cleanliness,” he added.

Dr. Othman Qazzaz, head of the media research and studies department at the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research, told Arab News that the Kingdom is also making efforts to improve logistics services during Hajj, aiming to host a successful pilgrimage season.