Worshipers pray shoulder-to-shoulder at the Two Holy Mosques after COVID-19 restrictions lifted

Worshipers pray shoulder-to-shoulder at the Two Holy Mosques after COVID-19 restrictions lifted
Worshipers and Umrah pilgrims visiting the Grand Mosque in Makkah are no longer required to socially distance. (@ReasahAlharmain)
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Updated 07 March 2022

Worshipers pray shoulder-to-shoulder at the Two Holy Mosques after COVID-19 restrictions lifted

Worshipers pray shoulder-to-shoulder at the Two Holy Mosques after COVID-19 restrictions lifted
  • Social distancing is gone, but face masks retained as full-capacity worship returns 
  • Zamzam water containers will be put back throughout the Two Holy Mosques

MAKKAH: Amid an emotional atmosphere filled with joy and tears, worshipers and Umrah pilgrims returned to the courtyards of the Grand Mosque in Makkah after Saudi authorities announced the lifting of COVID-19 precautionary measures and the return to normalcy in the Kingdom.

The General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque has reactivated its operational plans for full-capacity worship, with its field teams removing social distancing stickers. Worshipers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in spiritual scenes after the end of social distancing measures for prayers and tawaf. 

These preparations by the General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque come ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, with the presidency set to outline operational plans for the religious occasion. 

On the eve of the lifting of the precautionary measures, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, general president of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, confirmed that the presidency will develop new plans that will improve the service for visitors to the Two Holy Mosques and Umrah pilgrims.  

The spokesman for the General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, Hani bin Hosni Haidar, told Arab News that the presidency’s operational plan will apply at the Two Holy Mosques for the coming Ramadan season.

The plan will be announced on March 21 in a press conference in the presence of the General President Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, in which he will address the most prominent features of the operational plan. 

Haidar added that all the procedures and services that were suspended during the pandemic have returned to normal, including lifting posters and canceling social distancing between worshippers. 

In addition, Zamzam water containers will be put back throughout the Two Holy Mosques, the services of electric vehicles and manual wheelchairs will resume, and the doors of the Two Holy Mosques have flung open to receive visitors in full capacity. 

Haidar said that lectures have resumed, adding that a schedule will be published on the presidency’s website. 

Haider stressed the need for visitors to cooperate with the presidency’s workers by following the procedures in place during their travel to the Grand Mosque for prayers or performing Umrah.

He added that visitors will still need to wear face masks.


Saudi education commission approves 2023-2027 strategic plan

Saudi education commission approves 2023-2027 strategic plan
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi education commission approves 2023-2027 strategic plan

Saudi education commission approves 2023-2027 strategic plan

RIYADH: The Board of Directors of the Education and Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC) has approved its strategic plan for the years 2023-2027.

The ETEC is the competent authority in the Kingdom to evaluate, measure and approve qualifications in education and training.

It covers the public and private sector and raises the quality of education in service of the economy and national development.

The four-year plan aims to develop the education and training sector in an effort to reach a world-leading Saudi model for the industry.

The Saudi model is designed to achieve national development and economic growth through the commission’s work with relevant national authorities.

It also aims to raise the quality of outputs to meet the needs of the labor market and Vision 2030’s Human Capacity Development Program.

The strategic plan covers students, trainees, learning outcomes, practitioners, institutions, programs, the education and training system, and the internal capabilities of the ETEC.

Its objectives are to improve student learning outcomes and performance through modern curricula standards and assessments, and to enhance the excellence and quality of education and training professionals by setting higher standards, granting licenses and pushing the pace of excellence in the field.

This is attained by conducting effective reviews, evaluation and accreditation processes, in addition to establishing a culture of continuous improvement of the education and training system, providing data-based advice to support national decision-making, and developing and strengthening the internal capabilities of the ETEC.

The plan also includes a number of initiatives, projects, performance indicators and targets that fall under the evaluation programs: the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the National Assessment Program for University Achievement.

The commission’s board of directors also approved updated academic accreditation standards in order to raise performance.


Saudi trainee pilot dies after aircraft crashes in Riyadh’s Al Thumamah Airport 

Saudi trainee pilot dies after aircraft crashes in Riyadh’s Al Thumamah Airport 
Updated 28 min 21 sec ago

Saudi trainee pilot dies after aircraft crashes in Riyadh’s Al Thumamah Airport 

Saudi trainee pilot dies after aircraft crashes in Riyadh’s Al Thumamah Airport 
  • A team was sent to the site of the crash to investigate the cause and circumstances, the bureau said

A Saudi trainee pilot died when the plane he was flying crashed shortly after taking off from Riyadh’s Al Thumamah Airport, Saudi Arabia’s Aviation Investigation Bureau said on Tuesday. 

"The initial information indicates that the aircraft (Tecnam) took off from Al-Thumama Airport at about 6:30 a.m., with its pilot, a Saudi ‘trainee pilot,’ aboard a training flight," the bureau said in a statement. 

“Five minutes after takeoff, a mayday (distress call) was sent out from the pilot shortly before the connection was lost.”

The pilot was the only person onboard.

A search team was sent by the academy to the site of the crash to investigate the cause and circumstances, the bureau said, adding that the wreckage was located 5 kilometers north of Al-Thumama Airport.

The airport is located about 29 kilometers from the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.


KSrelief mobile clinics provide treatment for displaced Yemenis in Walan camp

KSrelief mobile clinics provide treatment for displaced Yemenis in Walan camp
Updated 16 August 2022

KSrelief mobile clinics provide treatment for displaced Yemenis in Walan camp

KSrelief mobile clinics provide treatment for displaced Yemenis in Walan camp

RIYADH: The mobile medical clinics of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) continued providing treatment services for the displaced in the camp of Walan in Haradh district in Yemen's Hajjah province, state-run Saudi Press Agency repoted. 
During the period from July 27 to Aug. 2, the clinics received 222 people with various health conditions, and provided them with the necessary medical services.
The clinics also provided 185 individuals with medications.
Moreover, KSrelief continued distributing food baskets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan.
Some 1,856 food baskets were distributed to the needy people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, benefiting 12,992 people.
This comes within the project to support food security, being implemented by the KSrelief in Pakistan, to alleviate the suffering of the needy and affected people.


Saudi man arrested  for shooting gun indiscriminately after video goes viral

Saudi man arrested  for shooting gun indiscriminately after video goes viral
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi man arrested  for shooting gun indiscriminately after video goes viral

Saudi man arrested  for shooting gun indiscriminately after video goes viral
  • The culprit has been charged with ‘endangering the lives of others’ state news agency SPA reported

DUBAI: A Saudi national was arrested in Najran city on Tuesday after he fired random shots from a personal weapon.
The culprit has been charged with ‘endangering the lives of others’ state news agency SPA reported. 
Another man, also a Saudi national, was arrested for documenting and publishing a video of the incident on social media. 
The incident comes a day after SPA reported a similar incident, which occurred in a governorate near Riyadh, where a man fired a machine gun ‘indiscriminately’ in a public place – he was arrested and now faces prosecution.


Philippines’ foreign affairs minister meets with Saudi Arabia’s ambassador 

Philippines’ foreign affairs minister meets with Saudi Arabia’s ambassador 
Updated 16 August 2022

Philippines’ foreign affairs minister meets with Saudi Arabia’s ambassador 

Philippines’ foreign affairs minister meets with Saudi Arabia’s ambassador 
  • The two officials discussed issues of mutual concern

The Philippine Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Enrique Manalo, met with Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to his country Hisham bin Sultan Al-Qahtani, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The two officials discussed issues of mutual concern and ways to enhance bilateral relations between the Kingdom and the Philippines, according to SPA. 

After Monday’s meeting, Manalo said on his official Twitter page: “I had a good meeting with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Hisham Sultan Al-Qahtani, where we exchanged views on points of collaboration beneficial to both our peoples.”