Sierra Leone envoys in Makkah pray for Ebola eradication

Updated 19 July 2015

Sierra Leone envoys in Makkah pray for Ebola eradication

RIYADH: Three Sierra Leonean ambassadors are in the Holy City of Makkah praying that the Ebola virus, which has claimed hundreds of lives, is completely wiped out from their country, said an official on Saturday.
“The virus is still present in the two districts of Portloko and Kambia, but the other 10, including Kono, Kenama, Makeni, Bo, Moyamba, are free from it,” M.B. Jalloh, Sierra Leonean Embassy spokesman, said.
Among the envoys who have come to the Grand Mosque to seek God’s intervention are Alhaji Mohammed Sillah Kargbo (Saudi Arabia), Siray Alpha Timbo (UAE) and Mohammed Fofana (Iran), he said.
“The worst is over but Kargbo and the other two ambassadors have gone to Makkah for Allah’s intervention to eliminate Ebola virus in our country,” he said.
“In this connection, we thank the Kingdom, under then the late Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for having extended assistance to us,” Jalloh said.
The Kingdom had earlier donated $35-million technical assistance to four countries which included Sierra Leone. The others are Liberia, Guinea and Mali. Sierra Leone received $6 million from the donation.
Jalloh attributed the Ebola situation stabilization to the political will of Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, adding that Sierra Leoneans have also abided by the government adviseries and guidelines to avoid contracting the disease or minimizing its effect.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report saying that there are signs that the incidence of Ebola has leveled off in the West African country, although transmission remains intense.
There have been 207,747 cases since the disease broke out early last year and 8,235 people have died so far, according to WHO.


Saudi Arabia isolates neighborhoods in Jeddah governorate to fight coronavirus

Updated 05 April 2020

Saudi Arabia isolates neighborhoods in Jeddah governorate to fight coronavirus

  • Entrance to and exit from these seven neighborhoods in the Jeddah governorate is forbidden
  • Several national entities partner to launch COVID-19 research grant

JEDDAH: The Saudi Interior Ministry imposed a 24-hour curfew on seven neighborhoods in Jeddah governorate on Saturday as an additional measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The neighborhoods are: Kilo 14 South, Kilo 14 North, Al-Mahjar, Ghulail, Al-Qurayyat, Kilo 13, and Petromin. Entry and exit to these areas are forbidden. Residents can only leave their homes for health care and food needs during the period from 6:00 am to 3:00pm.

Meanwhile, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) has announced an open application period for its new research grant program to support the Kingdom’s scientific efforts during the coronavirus crisis.

The fast-track program to support research into the coronavirus is aimed at providing support to institutions to develop detection and monitoring mechanisms in an accurate, fast and economical manner.

Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Malik, executive director for the Life Science and Environment Research Institute at KACST, told a press conference on Saturday that the grant would provide direct financial support to scientists in research centers and universities around the country.

“The program will focus on developing diagnostic and serological tests for the virus and support epidemiological surveys, artificial intelligence systems and active genetic surveillance for the new virus,” Al-Malik said.

“KACST will also allow the grant awardees to use its laboratories around the country whenever they need it,” he said.

Al-Malik is inviting researchers interested in COVID-19-related work to submit their proposals at the portal (https://covid19.kacst.edu.sa/grants/) between April 4 to 20. Winners will be announced ten days after the deadline.

The initiative was launched in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Saudi Health Council and the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Health Ministry has announced 140 new COVID-19 cases, two of which are related to travel, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,179 with 1,730 of them still active cases.

While the number of recoveries increased to 420, four new deaths were announced, three of whom were non-Saudis, increasing total deaths to 29.

During the department’s daily conference, Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly clarified that the bodies of those who died of COVID-19 were bathed and shrouded according to Islamic tradition by trained health practitioners or under the ministry’s supervision to ensure everybody’s safety.

“Their dignity is maintained from the moment they pass away until burial . . . after completing all these procedures (bathing and shrouding) under our supervision, the body no longer carries the infection.”

The ministry advises people to get their information from official sources and has dedicated a web page for updates about disease numbers in the Kingdom (covid19.moh.gov.sa).