RIYADH: Health officials urged Saudis on Wednesday to ensure that they were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after the number of daily cases in the Kingdom more than tripled in four days.
Saudi Arabia reported 3,045 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, compared with 846 on Saturday, Jan. 1.
The Health Ministry confirmed one new COVID-19 related death on Wednesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,886.
In a surge in infections fueled by the omicron variant of the virus, the number of new cases has increased almost tenfold in just over a month, from only 34 on Dec. 1. A total of 109 COVID-19 patients are in a critical condition in hospital.
This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)
The highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 855, followed by Jeddah with 647, Makkah with 398, Hofuf confirmed 152, and Dammam recorded 144.
The ministry also announced that 424 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 543,553.
Over 51.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 23.2 million people have been fully vaccinated.
While the omicron variant of the virus is less likely to cause serious illness or death, the MoH urged Saudis to receive a booster shot to avoid acute complications.
Saudi municipalities have also ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of Jeddah carried out 6,008 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities during the last two days. Authorities recorded 41 violations and closed 18 businesses for not adhering to the precautionary measures.
The Eastern Province Municipality carried out 1,388 tours on Tuesday and field teams issued fines to 74 commercial outlets for breaching protocols.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 297 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 5.47 million.
New wave of events featuring international lineup of artists and diverse activities catering to music lovers, weekend family entertainment in Riyadh
Updated 15 May 2022
RIYADH: On Friday, a vibrant series of electronic house music bounced off the hills of the Riyadh desert at the NOX Camp Desert Resort, bringing together music, art and desert-sport lovers alike in a one-of-a-kind event.
The exclusive music and art event organizer, Desert Sound Entertainment, presented their premiere “Mars Escape” experience to the Saudi community, transporting about 1,000 attendees to another dimension made distinct by live art, festival makeup and fire performances.
The moon shone, setting up the atmosphere for the celestial night, the music ascended. Headlined by Satori, the international DJ lineup included the likes of Alaa Jazaery, Rafa, NarkBeat, and a surprise performance by local DJ Ibbie.
The 10-hour festival saw a distinctive blend of artists taking to the main stage. Rafa gave the crowd a sensual and authentically earthy organic house experience while NarkBeat’s performance left the crowd in anticipation with sultry Arabian oud sounds. Alaa Jazaeri, founder of a similar music festival titled “Narratives,” slowed down the groove with an organic and soulful house music set, taking festival-goers on a mini-journey.
The diverse music echoing the valley of the desert culminated with Satori, a world-famous Dutch producer whose music focuses on spirituality and enlightenment. His set took off promptly at midnight and closed the event. His stop at Riyadh is part of his world tour this month with upcoming shows in Moscow, Stockholm and London.
Rafa gave the crowd a sensual and authentically earthy organic house experience while NarkBeat’s performance left the crowd in anticipation with sultry Arabian oud sounds.
“I would not imagine from this side of the world that people would know me and connect with the music in this way, so it was really a big pleasure. I’ve been playing in this region of course already for a few years, if we speak about Dubai or Egypt, I played in Oman and Lebanon, but never in Saudi,” Satori said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.
Satori’s mellow sounds, crafted under the influence of the Japanese term “Satori,” cannot be narrowed down to a single genre, but rather a feeling. His music combines elements of self-exploration, earthy melodies, psychedelic tones and vivid energy. The crescendo of the piano, synthetic electronic beats and kalimba prompted a series of cheers as people danced. Almost every listener was rhythmically entranced, surrendering to the sound.
“For me it feels like I’m part of innovation. There’s something progressing and just to be part of that is really a great honor. It feels like we’re writing history and I’m kind of part of that chapter,” he said of his recent performance. “In the end, music is a universal language, people would connect to that or understand that even if they’re not used to these types of events. People will feel it.”
While primarily centered around the musical performances, the Saudi General Entertainment Authority-certified event also included an array of cultural activities such as art installations, graffiti sites and street art, virtual reality booths, games, and live catering. “We wanted to complete the music experience as a whole, connecting with nature and expressing through art and feeling with music,” assistant manager, Reema Al-Saud, told Arab News.
Event-goers were ready to indulge in the cultural aspect of the experience. “This is my first experience, and it gives a nice vibe,” said attendee Bha’a Mahdi. “I didn’t like that there wasn’t a big crowd. The place is very, very gorgeous. Incredible. It’s unreal. I liked the music, but was hoping the music would have more drops and highs. I felt united with the desert, I even removed my shoes,” he said.
Other members of the audience had similar comments. “The location is good, the vibe is nice. Just one thing: I wish there were more people,” said one attendee.
“The ground traps you. The sand doesn’t give you way to dance or walk,” said another attendee.
This international lineup and diverse activities come after a new wave of events that cater to those music-lovers, the latest being Freaks of Nature, bringing new meaning to weekend family entertainment ventures in Riyadh.
Saudi Civil Defense rescues pet animals trapped in Alkhobar fire
All animals are subject to periodic medical checkups by Pets Houses’ veterinarian clinic, which provides for all their needs, including hygiene
Updated 15 May 2022
RIYADH: Pet owners were relieved after their animals were rescued from a massive fire that broke out Friday inside Alkhobar’s Dhahran Mall in eastern Saudi Arabia.
A Civil Defense crew in Alkhobar rescued animals including cats, dogs and fish from Pets Houses, a pet supplies store in the largest commercial complex in the Eastern Province.
The animals were transported during daylight hours after a fire that started on the complex’s roof was put out.
According to a Civil Defense source, it is part of firefighters’ job in such circumstances to perform search and rescue operations at the scene to ensure that no one is trapped inside and that any animals are rescued.
The same source told Arab News that firefighters evacuated the pets to a safe location outside the mall before the animals were returned to their owners.
Nawaf Al-Mandeel, general manager of Pets Houses, said that “the shock was tremendous at Pets Houses,” following the fire that broke out at Dhahran Mall, where one of the company’s branches is located.
Al-Mandeel said that Pets Houses does its best to afford care and a decent life for the many pets at the branch located in Dhahran Mall. Pet owners regularly come to the branch, he said, to purchase supplies and learn how to breed and care for their pets as part of the family.
All animals are subject to periodic medical checkups by Pets Houses’ veterinarian clinic, which provides for all their needs, including hygiene, he said.
“We were shocked by the news of the fire that morning. We contacted the authorities and alerted them to the presence of pets inside our branch located inside the complex, and they responded immediately,” Al-Mandeel added.
He described the waiting periods as “excruciating” until he received the welcome news that all the animals at the branch had been rescued and transported safely and without any injuries, thanks to the efforts of the Civil Defense “heroes.”
“The team brought the animals to our veterinary clinic swiftly to check on their health. The medical team confirmed the safety of all the animals,” he said.
Badr S. Al-Turaif, general manager of Rahmah Animal Welfare Association, told Arab News that the association is in contact with the shop’s management and that the animals are in good health, adding that they had not been exposed to either fire or fumes as the shop is located relatively far from the fire site.
“The courageous efforts of the Civil Defense team are not surprising,” Al-Turaif said. “We always find these heroes at the center of incidents, providing assistance and saving lives.”
Al-Turaif urged pet store owners to implement the preventive measures outlined by the Civil Defense to avoid tragedies in the future. These include setting fire alarms, developing an emergency and evacuation plan, ensuring adequate ventilation, designing the shop in a way that allows for the implementation of these measures, and creating an appropriate environment for animals so that their health and safety are not jeopardized.
Grand Mosque robots answer pilgrims’ questions in 11 languages
The robots guide pilgrims on how to perform their Umrah rituals, issue fatwas, and answer questions
They also have high resolution cameras that provide clarity in transmitting images, high resolution headphones, and a microphone with high capture quality
Updated 15 May 2022
RIYADH: Robots that provide visitors to the Grand Mosque in Makkah with guidance can be accessed in 11 languages: Arabic, English, French, Russian, Persian, Turkish, Malay, Urdu, Chinese, Bengali, Hausa.
The robots guide pilgrims on how to perform their Umrah rituals, issue fatwas, answer questions and provide opportunities for people to communicate with scholars remotely.
The four-wheeled robots have 21-inch touchscreens and are equipped with a smart stopping system that allows them to be moved easily and smoothly.
They also have high resolution cameras that provide clarity in transmitting images, high resolution headphones, and a microphone with high capture quality that allows clear sound transmission.
The robots work on a Wi-Fi wireless network system at a speed of 5 GHz which enables fast and high transmission of data.
Saudi Ministry of Justice: 79k e-transactions completed since March 2020
The service has been streamlined to enable electronic agreement on sale terms without a notary’s certification, so that the operation can be completed in less than one hour
Updated 16 May 2022
RIYADH: Almost 79,000 property e-conveyancing transactions have been processed since the launch of the Najiz.sa service in March 2020, the Saudi Ministry of Justice announced.
The total value of the transactions exceeds SR11 billion ($2.9 billion).
“The service is available through the Najiz.sa portal at ept.moj.gov.sa,” the ministry said.
“The upper limit for the e-conveyance of property has been raised from SR3 million to SR20 million.”
The service has been streamlined to enable electronic agreement on sale terms without a notary’s certification, so that the operation can be completed in less than one hour.
It had also enabled digital verification of bank accounts and payment of property transaction tax.
As part of several reforms and development initiatives, the Ministry of Justice is working on enhancing digitization and providing innovative tech solutions that facilitate services, simplify procedures and boost security.
“In cooperation with the Saudi Central Bank, the ministry made it available through 17 local and international banks,” the statement said.