Mix-and-match approach approved and safe to use, says Saudi Health Ministry

More than 36.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in the Kingdom so far at a rate of 314,901 doses each day. (SPA)
More than 36.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in the Kingdom so far at a rate of 314,901 doses each day. (SPA)
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Updated 30 August 2021

Mix-and-match approach approved and safe to use, says Saudi Health Ministry

More than 36.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in the Kingdom so far at a rate of 314,901 doses each day. (SPA)
  • 97 percent of government sector workers have completed their inoculations and 96 percent of private sector workers have also completed their doses

JEDDAH: A mixing of different COVID vaccines can trigger potent immune responses and boost immunity against COVID-19, according to a Saudi Ministry of Health spokesman.

In a press conference on Sunday, Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly reaffirmed the safety and efficacy of vaccines and said the mix-and-match approach could elicit a stronger and longer lasting response than two doses of one vaccine. “The mixing and matching of the approved vaccines in the Kingdom (AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) have proven safe to administer for beneficiaries and (according to) several studies have proven effective in the face of COVID-19 variants, especially the widespread delta variant that continues to pose a threat,” said Al-Aly.
“The most important thing is to receive the second dose in the right time frame in order to boost personal immunity and increase herd immunity, which will protect the community against variants, especially the delta variant,” he said.
Saudi Arabia reported 208 cases in the Kingdom on Sunday, raising the total number of cases to 544,004. The last time the Kingdom reported cases near Sunday’s numbers was Jan. 20 of this year.
Riyadh reported 69 cases, Makkah 36 and the Eastern Province 22. Both the Northern Borders and Jouf regions reported two cases each and Baha reported only one case.
The authorities reported 393 new recoveries, raising the total number of those who have recovered since the beginning of the pandemic to 532,126 cases.

INNUMBERS

544,004 Total cases

532,126 Recoveries

8,532 Deaths

There are currently 3,346 active cases, 952 of which are in critical care, a fall of 26 critical cases in the past 24 hours.
“The decline is due to the public’s adherence to precautionary measures and protocols, as well as registering for the vaccine and completing both doses,” said Al-Aly.
There were six new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the death toll over the course of the pandemic to 8,532.
More than 36.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in the Kingdom so far at a rate of 314,901 doses each day. More than 50,000 PCR tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of tests conducted so far to more than 27.3 million.
Despite the decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom, Saudi authorities warn both establishments and citizens to remain vigilant and adhere to protocols.
Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development spokesman Saad Al-Hammad announced that 735,000 field inspections have been conducted since the beginning of the year, which resulted in registering 8,945 violations in establishments, 57,864 warnings and 10,465 violations registered against individuals in private establishments.
He said stated that 97 percent of government sector workers have completed their inoculations and 96 percent of private sector workers have also completed their doses. “This is an important indicator that there is a heightened level of awareness amongst workers,” he said.


K-pop concert at Riyadh Season canceled, tickets to be refunded

A sandstorm caused by high-speed winds and heavy rain in Riyadh last Friday caused many outdoor events at Riyadh Season to close for public safety. (SPA/Reuters/File Photos)
A sandstorm caused by high-speed winds and heavy rain in Riyadh last Friday caused many outdoor events at Riyadh Season to close for public safety. (SPA/Reuters/File Photos)
Updated 10 sec ago

K-pop concert at Riyadh Season canceled, tickets to be refunded

A sandstorm caused by high-speed winds and heavy rain in Riyadh last Friday caused many outdoor events at Riyadh Season to close for public safety. (SPA/Reuters/File Photos)
  • Riyadh Season added that they are “committed to providing entertainment” and promised to bring the artists back to the Kingdom soon

RIYADH: A K-Pop concert featuring Stray Kids and Chungha in Riyadh has officially been canceled, with tickets for the mega musical event being refunded, Riyadh Season organizers said Wednesday.

In an official statement shared on its Twitter page, the festival said: “The 2021 Riyadh Season Chungha and Stray Kids show on Jan. 14 was regrettably canceled due to a sandstorm and extreme weather conditions. Your safety is always our priority. Tickets from the show will be refunded automatically to your wallet on the ticketing platform.”

Riyadh Season added that they are “committed to providing entertainment” and promised to bring the artists back to the Kingdom soon.

For inquiries, they shared a telephone number, 8002444010, and an email address to contact: [email protected]

The statement added: “K-pop fans, we hear you. We are fully committed and in discussion to bring the best K-pop to Saudi Arabia in the future. Stay tuned for more news!”

Lamar Jameel, a 16-year-old K-pop fan who came all the way from Tabuk to attend the concert, told Arab News: “I was so disappointed that it got postponed and now canceled. I was looking forward to attending as this was going to be my first time at a concert.

“I love Chungha, and it was going to be her first show in the region. If she had performed, she would have been the first K-pop female performer in Saudi Arabia. I hope she will come back as soon as Riyadh Season is in discussion to bring the artists back.”

A sandstorm caused by high-speed winds and heavy rain in Riyadh last Friday caused many outdoor events at Riyadh Season to close for public safety.

Turki Al-Sheikh, CEO of the General Entertainment Authority and chairman of the Riyadh Season, tweeted that due to the weather conditions in Riyadh, events had to be postponed, including the Stray Kids and Chungha concert.

Event organizers asked fans, who had gathered for the mega event, to evacuate the outdoor arena as “quickly as possible,” citing circumstances out of their control, with the high-speed winds preventing the concert from going ahead.

Riyadh Season tweeted shortly after: “For everyone’s safety, the Stray Kids and Chungha concert has been postponed until further notice due to weather conditions.”

The organizers were not able to say whether the concert would be postponed or canceled completely before Wednesday’s official statement.


Saudi students will attend exams in schools, MoE announces

Saudi students will attend exams in schools, MoE announces
Updated 25 min 32 sec ago

Saudi students will attend exams in schools, MoE announces

Saudi students will attend exams in schools, MoE announces
  • The ministry will allow students who have or are suspected of having COVID-19 to attend online through the electronic platform Madrasati (My School)
  • To aid the smooth transition into in-person teaching, the ministry added that morning assembly will be canceled and students will go directly to their classrooms

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Education has announced that students will attend exams at schools. 

The ministry emphasized the importance of “using school facilities to divide classes for optimization, and prioritize elementary classes.”

According to a guide distributed to educational supervisors and school principals, the ministry said that teachers who cannot come to schools might be exempted from attendance. MoE has also decided to exclude classroom or non-classroom activities that do not guarantee social distancing.

The ministry is stepping up its preparations for “the safe return” of elementary and kindergarten students in all the regions of the Kingdom, starting next Sunday, Jan. 23, after postponing it from October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier last week, Ibtisam Al-Shehri, ministry spokeswoman, said it was important for parents to prepare their children for the return to face-to-face classes.

The ministry will ensure the readiness of schools to receive male and female students in the elementary and kindergarten grades, monitor the maintenance and cleaning of schools, and secure all needs and equipment for school buildings.

They will provide schools with sanitizer and face masks, monitor safety systems and alarms, and ensure that school buses are sanitized.

The ministry stated in the guide that it is keen to organize entry and exit from the school to ensure social distancing by applying health precautions and sanitization of classrooms and school facilities before students enter school premises and after they leave.

The ministry will allow students who have or are suspected of having COVID-19 to attend online through the electronic platform Madrasati (My School). 

The platform, which was launched at the start of the pandemic in 2020, and used by more than 5 million students across the Kingdom, has been praised by the UN in a report highlighting the success of innovative educational models during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MoE said physical attendance will be applied first in remote areas because COVID-19 cases are fewer there.

The MoE will determine the level of school attendance for kindergartens and elementary schools. If the classrooms fail to meet precautions and social distancing measures, the ministry will require the school to adopt a different operational model where the school has to reduce the number of students in classrooms to meet their precautions.

To aid the smooth transition into in-person teaching, the ministry added that morning assembly will be canceled and students will go directly to their classrooms.


Japanese, German envoys meet Shoura Council parliamentary friendship committees, review bilateral ties

Japanese, German envoys meet Shoura Council parliamentary friendship committees, review bilateral ties
Updated 19 January 2022

Japanese, German envoys meet Shoura Council parliamentary friendship committees, review bilateral ties

Japanese, German envoys meet Shoura Council parliamentary friendship committees, review bilateral ties
  • Headed by its chairman, Osama bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, the Saudi-Japanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee held a meeting with the Japanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Iwai Fumio
  • The Saudi-German Parliamentary Friendship Committee, headed by its chairman, Hazza bin Bakr Al-Qahtani, also held a meeting with the German Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dieter Lamle

RIYADH: The Saudi Shoura Council’s joint Saudi-Japanese and Saudi-German parliamentary friendship committees held separate meetings with the ambassadors of Japan and Germany in Riyadh recently, discussing ways to strengthen bilateral ties, especially at the parliamentary level.

Headed by its chairman, Osama bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, the Saudi-Japanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee held a meeting on Sunday with the Japanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Iwai Fumio, who was accompanied by a number of Japanese Embassy officials.

During the meeting, the two sides stressed the importance of enhancing joint bilateral cooperation between the two countries in all fields. The meeting affirmed the existence of many areas that strengthen and develop the relations, most notably at the parliamentary level between the two parliamentary chambers in Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Japanese ambassador praised the developments witnessed by the Kingdom in various fields, stressing the keenness of his country’s government to develop and strengthen bilateral relations and activate mutual visits between the two countries to further enhance cooperation.

After the meeting the envoy tweeted: "I had the honor to meet with members of the Saudi-Japanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee in the esteemed Shoura Council and we exchanged views on the existing relations between our two friendly countries in various fields and ways to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation.”

On Sunday, the Saudi-German Parliamentary Friendship Committee, headed by its chairman, Hazza bin Bakr Al-Qahtani, held a meeting with German Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dieter Lamle.

The meeting discussed issues of common interest between the two countries in various fields, including parliamentary cooperation.

The two chairmen also highlighted the role and work mechanism of the Shoura Council and presented an overview of the role played by the council’s various parliamentary friendship committees in strengthening ties with friendly countries at the diplomatic level.


KSrelief, IOM sign $20m Yemen aid deals 

KSrelief, IOM sign $20m Yemen aid deals 
Updated 19 January 2022

KSrelief, IOM sign $20m Yemen aid deals 

KSrelief, IOM sign $20m Yemen aid deals 
  • The first deal, worth $15 million, will secure and distribute shelter, aid and non-food items to displaced people in the governorates of Marib, Taiz and Hodeidah
  • The second agreement covers rapid intervention in the water and sanitation sector in several Yemeni governorates

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center signed two agreements with the International Organization for Migration on Yemen.

The deals, which have a total value of $20 million, were signed by KSrelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino.

The first deal, worth $15 million, will secure and distribute shelter, aid and non-food items to displaced people in the governorates of Marib, Taiz and Hodeidah. It will target 82,320 people from internally displaced families and 20,580 people in host communities in Yemen.

The second agreement covers rapid intervention in the water and sanitation sector in several Yemeni governorates, with the aim of providing drinking water in impoverished areas, helping to reduce the spread of disease.

It comes in addition to the reconstruction of water and sanitation resources, and health awareness and hygiene programs, which will help about 50,500 Yemenis through a $5 million investment.

Al-Rabeeah said that the two agreements “will help hundreds of thousands of Yemenis who lack housing, shelter and food.

“They will also reduce the impact of humanitarian violations that Yemenis face from the Houthi militia.”

He called on the IOM to “stand firmly against the militia” and its “violations against refugees and internally displaced people,” warning that the group had targeted refugee camps in Marib and Al-Jouf.

The militia has also banned the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and imposes harsh taxation on refugees, Al-Rabeeah added.

He said that these practices, which “contradict humanitarian laws,” are strictly rejected by the IOM.

Vitorino said that the two deals “reflect the strategic partnership between the IOM and KSrelief,” and that they will “make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis who live under difficult humanitarian conditions.”

He added that since 2019, the IOM in Yemen has received more than $100 million of KSrelief support, which has “greatly contributed to helping the country.”

Vitorino expressed his hope that the IOM will provide urgent protection, assistance, healthcare and shelter for Yemenis in need.

Yemen is among the top beneficiaries of KSrelief assistance. In total, the center has implemented 647 projects in Yemen for a total cost of more than $3.9 billion.

The center’s programs cover food security, water sanitation and hygiene, health, education, emergency aid and nutrition.

KSrelief has implemented 1,814 projects worth more than $5.5 billion in 77 countries. The initiatives were carried out in cooperation with 144 local, regional and international partners since the inception of the center in May 2015.

According to a recent KSrelief report, the countries and territories that benefited the most from the center’s various projects were Yemen ($3.9 billion), Palestine ($368 million), Syria ($322 million) and Somalia ($209 million).


Saudi Arabia reports 5,928 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 5,928 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths
Updated 19 January 2022

Saudi Arabia reports 5,928 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 5,928 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 578,812
  • A total of 8,912 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced two deaths from COVID-19 and 5,928 new infections on Wednesday.

Of the new cases, 1,525 were recorded in Riyadh, 753 in Jeddah, 332 in Makkah, 281 in Madinah, 214 in Dammam, 211 in Hofuf, and 122 in Rabigh. Several other cities recorded less than one hundred new cases each.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 578,812 after 4,981 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,912 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 54.3 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.