MERS tests for camels and livestock

Updated 05 June 2014

MERS tests for camels and livestock

The Kingdom has started testing camels in the country for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), according to Minister of Agriculture Fahd Balghuneim.
Speaking at a workshop in Riyadh recently on registering and numbering livestock in the country, Balghuneim said the ministry would start testing all livestock in the Kingdom starting next week to make sure they do not have MERS.
He said there would be coordination with the Saudi Wildlife Authority to take samples from wild animals kept in nature reserves to determine the level of coronavirus infection in the Kingdom.
He said there is no suitable equipment to conduct speedy tests for coronavirus. Officials have to take blood or mucus samples, which takes a long time.
Balghuneim confirmed that there are no tests for the coronavirus at quarantine sites in countries exporting animals to Saudi Arabia.
He said the measure is part of the ministry’s program to control the spread of infectious diseases. Livestock entering the Kingdom just before Ramadan would be quarantined and vaccinated in exporting countries.
“We started registering and numbering livestock last year in Um Raqaiba. We started with camels belonging to Prince Mishal bin Abdulaziz to encourage other camel owners to do the same. Next week we will speed up the operation. The numbering of livestock will include sheep and camels in Badia through contractors working for the Ministry of Agriculture,” he said.
Balghuneim said centers in exporting countries quarantine their livestock for a few days, vaccinate and then send them to the Kingdom, as required by the Saudi government.
When the livestock reaches the Kingdom, samples are taken. If the animals are disease-free, they are allowed entry into the Kingdom. If they have diseases, they are quarantined. Those animals that cannot be treated are put down.
He said the ministry is investigating other ways to test camels and livestock bound for the Kingdom.
The minister said the Kingdom does not import live cows from countries identified by the World Health Organization to have mad cow disease.
“We are responsible for managing livestock, and to get accurate information we need to have an inventory of livestock in the Kingdom.” He said numbering methods for inventories are used in many countries.


All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

Updated 21 October 2019

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

  • About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first all-female tourist group has explored the environmental and archaeological wonders of Tabuk in the northwest of the Kingdom.

About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea.

“They were astonished to see such sights in their country, especially the area of Ras Al-Sheikh Humaid,” said Heba Al-Aidai, a tour guide in Tabuk who organized the trip.

“They did not expect to see such a place in Saudi Arabia. They looked speechless while standing close to the turquoise water of the sea. It is a truly breathtaking view.”

Al-Aidai and her colleague Nafla Al-Anazi promoted the trip on social media and attracted a group of homemakers, teachers and staff workers from all over the Kingdom, aged from 22 to over 50.

The tour was educational, too, and the women were told about the history of the places they visited. “They were taken to the Caves of Shuaib (Magha’er Shuaib), the place where Prophet Moses fled after leaving Egypt, and where he got married to one of the daughters of Prophet Shuaib, according to some historians. It was really a positive experience,” Al-Aidai said.

The visitors also explored Tayeb Ism, a small town in northwestern Tabuk, where there is a well-known gap in the towering mountains through which water runs throughout the year.

Al-Aidai said such trips aim to encourage tourism in Tabuk, and introduce Saudi tourists and other visitors to the landmarks of the region.