COVID-19: Saudi Arabia says masks and social distancing mandatory in all indoor, outdoor areas

COVID-19: Saudi Arabia says masks and social distancing mandatory in all indoor, outdoor areas
People arrive at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center to receive a dose of vaccine against the covid-19 disease, in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on January 21, 2021. (File/AFP)
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Updated 30 December 2021

COVID-19: Saudi Arabia says masks and social distancing mandatory in all indoor, outdoor areas

COVID-19: Saudi Arabia says masks and social distancing mandatory in all indoor, outdoor areas
  • New guidelines effective from Thursday morning, December 30
  • New health alert over ‘tsunami’ of virus cases

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has announced that wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines will be mandatory in all indoor and outdoor events and activities from 07:00 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30. 

The Saudi Interior Ministry announced the reimposition of some coronavirus restrictions as the world recorded 6.55 million new cases of COVID-19 in one week, the highest weekly total since the pandemic began two years ago.

The World Health Organization said the delta and omicron variants were “twin threats” driving case numbers to record highs, leading to spikes in hospital admissions and deaths.

“I am highly concerned that omicron, being more transmissible, circulating at the same time as delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases,” the UN agency chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“This will continue to put immense pressure on exhausted health workers and health systems on the brink of collapse. The unvaccinated are many times more at risk of dying from either variant.”

Saudi Arabia recorded 744 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 554,665. At least one death had been recorded.Of the new cases, 187 were recorded in Riyadh, 155 in Makkah, 149 in Jeddah, 32 in Hofuf, 22 in Madinah, 22 in Al-Mubarraz, 18 in Al-Khobar, 16 in Arar, and 14 in Dammam.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 541,388 after 231 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,874 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 50.1 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.

People living in Saudi Arabia are being urged to follow the new protocols in order to avoid facing legal penalties for failing to adhere to the precautionary measures.

In the UAE, the number of new daily cases passed 2,000 on Wednesday for the first time since June. Daily infections hit a record near 4,000 during the peak tourism season last January, but by October they were down to below 100.

BACKGROUND

The US, where omicron is already overwhelming hospitals, recorded its highest seven-day average of new cases at 265,427.

Worldwide, the number of cases increased by 37 percent to 6.55 million from Dec. 22-28 compared with the previous week — the highest since the WHO declared a pandemic in March 2020.

The surge, which is worst in Europe, is forcing governments to walk a tightrope between imposing restrictions designed to stop hospitals becoming overwhelmed and the need to keep economies and societies open two years after the virus first emerged in late 2019. New Year celebrations in many countries have been canceled.

France registered a new daily record of more than 200,000 cases — more than double the number recorded on Christmas Day — and extended the closure of nightclubs into January.

In Denmark, which currently has the world’s highest rate of infection per person, there were a record 23,228 new infections, which authorities attributed in part to the large numbers of tests carried out after Christmas celebrations.

The US, where omicron is already overwhelming hospitals, recorded its highest seven-day average of new cases at 265,427.

Harvard epidemiologist and immunologist Michael Mina said the count was probably the “tip of the iceberg” because of a shortage of tests, with the true number of cases far higher.

 

 


Saudi Arabia relief agency launches food security project for refugees in Jordan

Saudi Arabia relief agency launches food security project for refugees in Jordan
Updated 19 August 2022

Saudi Arabia relief agency launches food security project for refugees in Jordan

Saudi Arabia relief agency launches food security project for refugees in Jordan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s relief work for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Jordan continues with the launch of a food security project for the displaced living outside camps

The Kingdom’s latest project, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), aims to help refugee families and the neediest people in the host community, and contributing to improving their living conditions, according to a report from state news agency SPA.

Among KSRelief’s efforts for refugees in Jordan includes a $1.33 million agreement with the King Hussein Cancer Foundation to treat Syrians diagnosed with cancer; a $2 million accord with the National Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition to boost food security for poor families as well as a pact with the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization to provide housing and utilities support for 22 Syrian families involving 109 individuals.


Saudi Arabia reiterates gratitude for Uzbekistan’s support of Expo 2030 bid 

Saudi Arabia reiterates gratitude for Uzbekistan’s support of Expo 2030 bid 
Updated 19 August 2022

Saudi Arabia reiterates gratitude for Uzbekistan’s support of Expo 2030 bid 

Saudi Arabia reiterates gratitude for Uzbekistan’s support of Expo 2030 bid 

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman thanked Uzbekistan for supporting Riyadh’s bid to host the World Expo 2030, during a meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported citing a joint statement. 

The meeting between the two leaders, held in Jeddah on Wednesday, reviewed the countries’ relations and ways to enhance bilateral ties, a joint statement between the two countries said. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Mirziyoyev also emphasized the importance of exploring investment opportunities between their two countries, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals and Uzbekistan’s development goals.


Uzbekistan’s President performs Umrah during official trip to Saudi Arabia

Uzbekistan’s President performs Umrah during official trip to Saudi Arabia
Updated 19 August 2022

Uzbekistan’s President performs Umrah during official trip to Saudi Arabia

Uzbekistan’s President performs Umrah during official trip to Saudi Arabia

MAKKAH: The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev performed the Umrah pilgrimage on Thursday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. 

The president was received by several officials from the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque and from the Special Force for the Security of the Grand Mosque upon his arrival. 

Mirziyoyev’s official press service shared photos from the president’s pilgrimage on Twitter. 

 

The Uzbek president had arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday, where he was received by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The pair held a meeting and discussed bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields, in addition to reviewing a number of issues of common interest. 


Saudi crown prince receives Iraq’s Wisdom Movement leader

Saudi crown prince receives Iraq’s Wisdom Movement leader
Updated 19 August 2022

Saudi crown prince receives Iraq’s Wisdom Movement leader

Saudi crown prince receives Iraq’s Wisdom Movement leader
  • The pair discussed Saudi-Iraqi relations and issues of mutual interest

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received in Jeddah Iraq’s National Wisdom Movement leader Ammar Al-Hakim, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Friday.

The pair discussed Saudi-Iraqi relations and issues of mutual interest.

Al-Hakim arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday and was received by deputy minister of foreign affairs Waleed Al-Khuraiji.

Saudi and Iraqi senior officials attended the meeting. 


Deputy environment minister stresses importance of developing geospatial infrastructure  

Deputy environment minister stresses importance of developing geospatial infrastructure  
Updated 18 August 2022

Deputy environment minister stresses importance of developing geospatial infrastructure  

Deputy environment minister stresses importance of developing geospatial infrastructure  

RIYADH: Mansour Al-Mushaiti, deputy minister of environment, water and agriculture, stressed the importance of developing geospatial infrastructure during a meeting organized by the ministry at its headquarters in Riyadh on Tuesday. 

Al-Mushaiti commended the ministry’s work on geospatial infrastructure and remote sensing over the past years and emphasized the need to develop leadership in this area. 

Bandar Al-Muslmani, general supervisor of the geospatial information and remote sensing department at the ministry, spoke about the significance of developing training programs in the field in order to bolster digital sectors through geospatial data, applications and spatial analytics.

Such training programs would lead to increased efficiency, improved services and location-based decisions.

According to the Unified National Platform, the availability of geospatial information is required to achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.