International Book Fair ends on a high note

Updated 20 March 2016

International Book Fair ends on a high note

RIYADH: The 10-day Riyadh International Book Fair ended on a high note on Saturday with befitting cultural activities capping the cultural event.
A total of 350 young Saudi men and women participated in the preparations and presentation of the book fair held under the auspices of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.
“The book fair has been a great success. This early, many visitors are looking forward to the next event,” said Abdulaziz Al-Mugaiteeb, CEO of the organizing firm.
Various groups and individuals contributed to make the cultural event as interesting and exciting as possible. They included the Arabian Society for Culture and the Arts which presented a short film.
A group of Saudi poets, including Dr. Abdullah Sufiani, Musa Aqail, Haifa Al-Jabri, Hassan Al- Rabih, Talal Al-Ruwairqi, Mohammad Al-Atwi, and Hassan Samaili, recited their own poems, attracting many visitors who included poetry enthusiasts.
Visitors listened with admiration, their minds going back to their school days when they merely wanted to pass the subject where they discussed poetry.
“They are truly gifted. I wish their talent would rub off a little bit on me,” said a visitor working at a local bank.
Hasah Al-Qubla, a workshop presenter, expressed satisfaction regarding visitors’ enthusiasm for having attended the book fair. “It’s not farfetched to think that this year’s visitors will again attend the next book fair. This is shown by their excitement in this year’s cultural event,” she said.
She explained that their interest is also due to the systematic procedure at the corridors and the exhibition area.
“There are female volunteers who are ready to help by guiding visitors in the exhibition area. They also take note of the reactions of the guests regarding the book fair,” she said.

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 36 min 50 sec ago

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

  • Curfew to be eased on Sunday, except in Makkah, as domestic travel permitted
  • All curfews in Saudi Arabia to be lifted by June 20

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced the easing of restrictions that has halted much of the activity in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday 31, May, the curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown.

On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted.

Before then, social distancing guidelines must continue to be adhered to and gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned.

Authorities have also allowed the attendance at ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, and the return of their office activities.

Some economic and commercial activities will also be allowed to take place including those at wholesale and retail shops, as well as malls. Cafes will be permitted to operate once more.

However, all job sectors where social distancing rules are harder to achieve such as beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice.

The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it.

Earlier, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the health minister, said: “The phases start gradually until we return to normalcy, with its new concept based on social distancing.” 

He added that the precautionary steps taken by the Kingdom early in the outbreak helped to limit the spread of the virus. 

Now, he said, the ministry has developed a plan for the next phase that relies on two main factors: The capacity of the health care system to cope with critical cases, and the expansion of testing to identify new infections as soon as possible.

Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.” 

The Kingdom recorded 2,235 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total to 74,795, and the death toll rose by nine to 399. Worldwide the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people and killed nearly 350,000.