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Madinah health campaign benefits 60,000 people

Sat, 2020-05-30 01:01 MADINAH: A health awareness campaign in Madinah has benefited more than 60,000 people, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The General Directorate of Health Affairs in Madinah completed the campaign — under the slogan “We Return with
Saudi Arabia

Madinah health campaign benefits 60,000 people

Sat, 2020-05-30 01:01 MADINAH: A health awareness campaign in Madinah has benefited more than 60,000 people, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The General Directorate of Health Affairs in Madinah completed the campaign — under the slogan “We Return with Caution” — to raise awareness among people in public areas such as markets and squares since the coronavirus curfew’s end on Thursday. Madinah health affairs spokesman, Moayad Abu Unq, said that 12 teams and 24 groups had worked to implement social distancing and encourage businesses to uphold other preventive measures. These measures include checking shoppers’ temperatures, in addition to ensuring that at every entrance they are wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and wearing gloves. The spokesman said that malls used audio and video broadcasts to raise awareness among shoppers, and that teams observed many shoppers complying with instructions. He said there would be a positive impact on controlling the spread of coronavirus because of people’s cooperation. This factor played the greatest role in combating the spread of the disease because people were adhering to preventive measures in order to protect their health, he added. The spokesman emphasized the importance of avoiding gatherings and shaking hands, the need to wear masks, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with tissues or the elbow, avoiding touching the face, and maintaining a safe distance between people. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Coronavirus Prophet’s Mosque to open to public in stages from Sunday$40bn transferred from SAMA's FX reserves to PIF, says Saudi finance minister

KSA clears 369,000 hectares of desert locust swarms

Sat, 2020-05-30 01:11 RIYADH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture cleared locusts from 369,391 hectares of land in the Kingdom between Feb. 1 and May 28, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The ministry reported that the locusts’ breeding sea
Saudi Arabia

KSA clears 369,000 hectares of desert locust swarms

Sat, 2020-05-30 01:11 RIYADH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture cleared locusts from 369,391 hectares of land in the Kingdom between Feb. 1 and May 28, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The ministry reported that the locusts’ breeding season in the Kingdom is almost over and said that “monitoring, exploration and control operations were continuous for four months during spring in Riyadh, Qassim, Hail, and Eastern Province.” The ministry claimed there was a possibility that such “invasions” could be repeated because of the “weak survey and control operations” in neighboring countries. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Locust Outbreak Saudi authorities clear 6,550 hectares of desert locust swarms

What We Are Buying Today: Mishkat

Sat, 2020-05-30 01:16 Mishkat is a Saudi fashion brand concept that champions modesty and self respect. It offers modern, creative designs that are locally inspired and give off a vibe of elegance mixed with simplicity and trendiness. The brand was launche
Saudi Arabia

What We Are Buying Today: Mishkat

Sat, 2020-05-30 01:16 Mishkat is a Saudi fashion brand concept that champions modesty and self respect. It offers modern, creative designs that are locally inspired and give off a vibe of elegance mixed with simplicity and trendiness. The brand was launched in 2017 by Shababuna, a Saudi company founded and led by Lama Al-Ghalib. It offers a range of comfortable and stylish clothing, including oriental babouche slippers in a variety of designs and cuts. These include two collections of “mommy and me” slippers, which allow little girls to wear the same slipper designs as their mothers. Handmade from jacquard or vegan leather, the slippers have a comfortable insole and are suitable for wearing inside and outside the home. The brand offers four themed apparel collections, along with scarves, which are the perfect choice for hijabi ladies. The glitter collection is comfortable and suitable for traveling, while the bohemian collection is inspired by the sea. A third range is inspired by the Arabic kufi font, with handwritten designs created by Saudi calligrapher and artist Shaker Kashgari. The fourth offers a selection of items that can be styled for everyday use. The most frequently used materials are cotton and linen. The brand’s products are available from its main shop at Ana Gheir Mall, or visit www.hnak.com to buy online. For more information, check out @Mishkatofficial on Instagram.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: What We Are Buying Today What We Are Buying Today: Thinker BoxWhat We Are Buying Today: Mikal’s cereal: The first Saudi brand to offer dry baby cereal

Saudi authorities monitor health violations in Qatif

Sat, 2020-05-30 01:22 QATIF: The Eastern Province municipality has carried out thousands of field inspection tours in Qatif governorate during Ramadan to ensure that precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were being fo
Saudi Arabia

Saudi authorities monitor health violations in Qatif

Sat, 2020-05-30 01:22 QATIF: The Eastern Province municipality has carried out thousands of field inspection tours in Qatif governorate during Ramadan to ensure that precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were being followed. The inspectors toured 5,006 food outlets, with 859 of those receiving warnings and 409 being shut down.   The municipality also closed four slaughterhouses, seizing 39,440 kilograms of meat, animal guts, fish, shrimp and food unfit for human consumption, in addition to destroying 6,000 kilograms of rotten nuts.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: CoronaviirusQatif Documentary reveals the history of Saudi Arabia’s battle against diseasesKSA clears 369,000 hectares of desert locust swarms

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Author: Sat, 2020-05-30 00:29 Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11.  A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic
Saudi Arabia

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Author: Sat, 2020-05-30 00:29 Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11.  A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic, Alomair won the Silver Palm Tree Award for best script at the Saudi Film Competition in 2008. She gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic-English translation from King Saud University in 1992 and four years later a master’s degree in the same field of study from Heriot-Watt University, in Scotland. Her documentary “Beyond Words” was screened during the Gulf Film Festival in 2019 and was selected for the main competition in this year’s Muscat International Film Festival. A member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, she has worked as a head writer in writing workshops for several TV series. She was a jury member at the Saudi Film Festival held by Rotana in 2013. Her second flick, “The Complaint,” was selected in the main competition of Tessa’s Festival for Asian and African Films in Morocco in 2014 and it won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best short fiction film in the Saudi Film Competition in 2015. In 2016, Alomair, together with Hind Al-Fahhad, scooped the prize for best script for the short film “Peddlers” at the King Fahd Center Short Film Competition. She recently published a book about the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and in 2017 wrote a play called “Qat Oqat.” Last year, she wrote and directed her latest short film “Swan Song,” which won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best actor in the Saudi Film Festival. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Who's WhoSaudi Arabia Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Dukhail, executive director of the Saudi Federation of Sports MedicineDr. Abdullah bin Ali Alaaraj, dean of the Makkah College of Technology

Saudi Arabia records more COVID-19 recoveries than infections in past 24 hours

Fri, 2020-05-29 16:13 LONDON: Saudi Arabia recorded more recoveries from the coronavirus (COVID-19) than new cases, the health ministry announced on Friday. With 1,581 new infections recorded since Thursday, the Kingdom’s daily case rate continues to fal
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia records more COVID-19 recoveries than infections in past 24 hours

Fri, 2020-05-29 16:13 LONDON: Saudi Arabia recorded more recoveries from the coronavirus (COVID-19) than new cases, the health ministry announced on Friday. With 1,581 new infections recorded since Thursday, the Kingdom’s daily case rate continues to fall.  The ministry announced 2,460 new recoveries over the past 24 hours, which takes the total number of recoveries nationwide to 57,013. The death toll in the Kingdom rose by 17 to a total of 458 fatalities.  Saudi Arabia has just come out of a  24-hour curfew period for the Eid Al-Fitr holidays, and citizens and residents began heading out of their homes on Friday on the first day of the government’s three-phase plan to transition back to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE: Saudis head out as coronavirus lockdown eases Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCoronavirus Saudis head out as coronavirus lockdown easesSaudi Arabia records 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 2,963 recoveries

Saudi Arabia to organize virtual donors conference for Yemen in partnership with UN

Author: Zaynab KhojjiID: 1590759569096957200Fri, 2020-05-29 16:56 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will organize, in partnership with the United Nations, the virtual donors’ conference for Yemen that is due to take place on Tuesday. The conference aims to i
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia to organize virtual donors conference for Yemen in partnership with UN

Author: Zaynab KhojjiID: 1590759569096957200Fri, 2020-05-29 16:56 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will organize, in partnership with the United Nations, the virtual donors’ conference for Yemen that is due to take place on Tuesday. The conference aims to increase awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the country and to obtain financial pledges. The Kingdom called on donor countries to support efforts to make the conference a success and stand in solidarity with the people of Yemen. The UN on Thursday announced the conference in partnership with Riyadh, saying the aim is to raise some $2.4 billion to pay for the world’s biggest aid operation. Around 80 percent of Yemen's population of nearly 30 million people need aid. The conference will take place at 4 p.m. Saudi time and will be streamed live on https://ksrelief.org/live and http://webtv.un.org. The opening speech will be delivered by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, while the Kingdom’s speech will be delivered by the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaYemenUN UN officials appeal for Yemen funding amid pandemicYemen begins repatriation of thousands of stranded citizens

Saudis head out as coronavirus lockdown eases

Fri, 2020-05-29 02:27 JEDDAH/RIYADH: As the 24-hour-curfew period ended, residents of Saudi Arabia headed back outside on the first day of the government’s three-phase plan to transition back to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic. But as people rushe
Saudi Arabia

Saudis head out as coronavirus lockdown eases

Fri, 2020-05-29 02:27 JEDDAH/RIYADH: As the 24-hour-curfew period ended, residents of Saudi Arabia headed back outside on the first day of the government’s three-phase plan to transition back to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic. But as people rushed to take advantage of the newly relaxed measures, streets quickly became crowded and several observers noticed that many were failing to observe social-distancing measures. Prince Abdulrahman bin Mosaad tweeted: “For there to be traffic in the streets is natural after canceling the 24-hour curfew, but what’s abnormal and unbelievable is the amount of people underestimating the necessity of putting on a face mask and a pair of gloves and keeping a two-meter space between people crowding at stores. This is only the first day. Unfortunately, I don’t think Shawwal 29 (June 21) will be the day we go back to normal.” In a follow-up tweet, Prince Abdulrahman reminded people that the pandemic does not have a cure or a vaccine yet, and wondered whether people would need to lose a loved one before they came to appreciate the severity of the situation. University lecturer, Abdulfattah Al-Qahtani (@fattah53), agreed, tweeting: “Sadly, not many understand the dangers of the virus, and what they could be doing to their loved ones. It’s very simple; don’t go out unless it’s necessary. If you absolutely have to, follow precautionary measures from wearing a mask to keeping an acceptable distance between you and others.” Abdulaziz Al-Omar (@11a_alomar) also replied with suggestions. “It’s important to monitor and penalize facilities and shops that do not follow precautionary regulations, as well as fines against those who don’t wear a mask and don’t keep their distance from others,” he tweeted. The hashtag #JeddahNow was quickly trending on Twitter in response to the number of people leaving their homes unnecessarily. A number of users suggested that individuals neglecting social distancing and going out in public without a mask and gloves would be “more afraid of a SR10,000 fine than they are of the pandemic.” However, many thought that people were overreacting to the traffic around the city’s corniche. Sa’ad Mughram (@saad_mghrm) tweeted: “Don’t blame people for traffic. There are families that have been pressed together for three months in small apartments and reef houses. It’s their right to go out and see the sky on a short car ride.” He added: “Overcrowding stores needs to be addressed, but things can be dealt with calmly, without overreacting and perfectionism from some.” Sadly, not many understand the dangers of the virus, and what they could be doing to their loved ones.  Abdulfattah Al-Qahtani , University lecturer Some hailed the efforts made by several popular stores around the Kingdom that are enforcing social distancing, such as Madinah’s Starbucks, where a photo circulating on social media showed people lined up with the recommended space between them, demonstrating what was described as “classy behavior.” Abdullah Al-Humaid, (@abn_humaid) commented: “It’s wonderful to see such awareness displayed in our society. These are people maintaining social distancing while wearing gloves and face masks.” Meanwhile, many headed onto the streets of Riyadh looking to regain a sense of normality. “Of course, I went out. I took my mom and sister and drove to the nearest mall to run some errands,” 26-year-old Sarah Al-Jasser told Arab News. However, Al-Jasser said she was unable to enter the shops inside the mall because of long queues. “I was surprised that people were out this early. We were at the mall by 9:30 a.m. and didn’t expect it to be this crowded,” she said. By 2:30 p.m. most shops and malls were already closed and empty of customers and shopkeepers, abiding by the 3 p.m. curfew. Rayed Mustafa, 33, told Arab News he believes the situation is still unsafe: “Just because the country is opening up doesn’t mean it’s safe to go out.”  However, that did not stop him from leaving  the house. “I pulled an all-nighter, put on my face mask and gloves and hit the streets at 6:30 a.m. to cruise the city.” He added that he stayed in his car and was merely hoping to get some fresh air for his mental well-being. “I’ve been confined in a very small apartment for over a month,” he said. “I needed that change of scenery.”  He said he made sure to abide by the safety and health measures put in place by the Ministry of Health, and refrained from mingling with people. Mustafa was taken aback by the number of people he saw on the streets.  “One of the main streets in Riyadh was filled to the brim — some celebrating, others going out for coffee,” he added. Billboards have been placed around the Kingdom reminding people to comply with the recommended precautions in order to ensure their safety. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCOVID-19 Saudi Arabia announces 16 more deaths from COVID-19 as restrictions partially easedSaudis reveal their post-COVID-19 wish lists

Saudi G20 presidency joins UN meeting on development financing amid COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 08:01 DUBAI: Saudi G20 presidency, represented by the Kingdom’s minister of finance, joined the UN meeting titled “Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond,” state news agency SPA reported. Heads of stat
Saudi Arabia

Saudi G20 presidency joins UN meeting on development financing amid COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 08:01 DUBAI: Saudi G20 presidency, represented by the Kingdom’s minister of finance, joined the UN meeting titled “Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond,” state news agency SPA reported. Heads of states and international organizations, representatives from NGOs and the private sector discussed six topics mainly, global liquidity and financial stability, debt vulnerability, private sector creditors engagement, external finance and remittances for inclusive growth, illicit financial flows and recovering better for sustainability and growth. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including in its capacity as the G20 President, remains committed to work with others to address what is, first and foremost, a human tragedy, and its global health, economic and social impacts, including on the most vulnerable,” Mohammed Al-Jadaan said during the meeting. The minister highlighted the G20’s response to the challenges in the health, economic and social sectors created by the coronavirus pandemic. “As the president of the G20 in 2020, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia immediately took concrete steps to drive and coordinate international response, with the aim of developing collective actions to address the global challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added. The meeting was co-chaired by UN head Secretary-General António Guterres, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  It launched a collective effort to create proposals which will help overcome challenges in the six areas mentioned earlier, which will be presented during a political forum in July and at the General Assembly in September, SPA added. Meanwhile, the G20 International Financial Architecture (IFA) working group held an extraordinary meeting to assess the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). The initiative, which could provide around $14 billion in immediate and critical liquidity relief through official bilateral creditors for the poorest nations, received 36 applications during the first month. The DSSI “would help vulnerable countries strengthen their fight against the pandemic. This amount could increase significantly if additional creditors, including multilateral development banks and private sector creditors, join the initiative” Saudi G20 Presidency Policy Lead of the IFA Bandr Alhomaly said. Experts from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Institute of International Finance, Paris Club Secretariat and various regional development banks joined the meeting. The group will host another extraordinary meeting on June 23 to further examine the DSSI implementation efforts, ahead of the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in July. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaG20United Nations (UN) Saudis head out as coronavirus lockdown easesG20 task force meets to promote global infrastructure investment

Saudi aviation authority issues travel guidelines when domestic flights resume

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 09:11 DUBAI: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has issued a travelers’ guide as Saudi domestic flights are set to resume on Sunday, state news agency SPA reported. The guide includes the precautionary measures at
Saudi Arabia

Saudi aviation authority issues travel guidelines when domestic flights resume

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 09:11 DUBAI: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has issued a travelers’ guide as Saudi domestic flights are set to resume on Sunday, state news agency SPA reported. The guide includes the precautionary measures at airports and the safety rules passengers will have to follow. Travelers are also required to disclose their medical information, especially if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, when booking flights and electronic payments are the preferred mode. Ticket outlets at airports will remain closed to limit contact between people, GACA said. Passengers also will need to arrive at airports two hours before departure, go through a thermal check, sterilize their hands before entrance and must wear masks and gloves at all times. Only one piece of carry-on luggage is allowed per person and everyone must maintain a safe distance at all times, guided by special stickers on the ground. Accompanying travelers to airports is limited to those helping senior citizens and people with disabilities, GACA added. GACA has provided all of the Kingdom’s 28 airports with sterilizers, installed glass shields at check-in points and required all staff and air crew to go through medical exams. Airline staff, like passengers, will be required to disinfect their hands, and wear masks and gloves. Meanwhile, airports will be cleaned every three hours and planes will be disinfected after each flight. Aboard flights, there will be an empty seat between passengers, who are also discouraged from using cash payments for services and goods purchased during the flight. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)Saudi ArabiaAirportsCoronavirus Saudis head out as coronavirus lockdown easesSaudis adopt new hobbies to get through quarantine

Saudi Arabia sanitizes over 90,000 mosques for reopening on Sunday

Fri, 2020-05-29 09:52 DUBAI: The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs has sanitized over 90,000 mosques in the Kingdom ahead of their reopening on Sunday, state news agency SPA reported. However, mosques in Makkah will remain closed in accordance with orders f
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia sanitizes over 90,000 mosques for reopening on Sunday

Fri, 2020-05-29 09:52 DUBAI: The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs has sanitized over 90,000 mosques in the Kingdom ahead of their reopening on Sunday, state news agency SPA reported. However, mosques in Makkah will remain closed in accordance with orders from the Minister of Islamic Affairs Abdullatif Al-Sheikh. The authority also carried out an extensive media campaign in several languages to educate worshippers on safety measures and procedures in mosques, such as performing ablution at home and sanitizing hands before entering the places of worship. Individuals were advised to read electronic copies of the Quran from their own phones, bring prayer mats from home and maintain a two-meter distance between each other. Elderly people, persons with chronic illnesses and children under 15 years were advised to perform prayers at home, the report added. The Kingdom has eased coronavirus restrictions after over two months of lockdowns, with domestic flights to resume on Sunday. The current toll of coronavirus in Saudi Arabia stands at 80,185 infected people, 54,553 recovered patients and 441 fatalities. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCoronavirusMosques Saudi aviation authority issues travel guidelines when domestic flights resumeSaudis head out as coronavirus lockdown eases

450k Umrah pilgrims sent back home amid pandemic

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 01:34 JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah facilitated the return of as many as 450,000 Umrah pilgrims safely to their countries as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Over 60
Saudi Arabia

450k Umrah pilgrims sent back home amid pandemic

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 01:34 JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah facilitated the return of as many as 450,000 Umrah pilgrims safely to their countries as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Over 60,000 pilgrims were sent back to their home countries through special flights during the five-day Eid holiday, in a first such operation since the suspension of international flights in the Kingdom on March 15. Around 1,500 pilgrims, who were stranded in the country, also left in April in collaboration with the ministries of foreign affairs, health and interior. Another 40,000 pilgrims were brought to Makkah from Madinah with the help of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, to complete their rituals. The ministry also played host to about 2,000 pilgrims, who were not able to go back to their home countries due to the suspension of international flights. The suspension of Umrah and international flights continues until further notice.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCoronavirus Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah oversees departure of Iraqi pilgrims back home

Interior Ministry adopts new COVID-19 measures

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 01:37 The minister of interior has approved precautionary measures, to help halt the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Kingdom, for the wholesale, retail, industry, and construction sectors. The measures cove
Saudi Arabia

Interior Ministry adopts new COVID-19 measures

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 01:37 The minister of interior has approved precautionary measures, to help halt the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Kingdom, for the wholesale, retail, industry, and construction sectors. The measures cover customers, employees, materials, stores and warehouse, as well as implementing regulations in the wholesale and retails sector, including in small shops, malls, commercial centers and markets. The measures in the construction and industrial sectors cover labor accommodation, warehouses and logistics services, and prevention of contagion while working.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Arabia Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

Saudi border Guards rescue injured Chinese sailor

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 02:12 RIYADH: Saudi Border Guards’ ship Al-Laith evacuated a 34-year old Chinese  sailor, who had with a broken right hand, from on a maritime ship’s deck north of Jeddah Islamic Port, in the Red Sea. Border Guards spokes
Saudi Arabia

Saudi border Guards rescue injured Chinese sailor

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 02:12 RIYADH: Saudi Border Guards’ ship Al-Laith evacuated a 34-year old Chinese  sailor, who had with a broken right hand, from on a maritime ship’s deck north of Jeddah Islamic Port, in the Red Sea. Border Guards spokesman, Lt. Col. Misfer bin Ghannam Al-Quraini, said that the Jeddah Maritime Rescue and Search Center received a call from the captain of a ship sailing from the US port of Charleston to a port in Vietnam, bearing a Hong Kong flag, on a case of an ill sailor who needed evacuation. The center pinpointed the position of the ship to carry out the evacuation operation immediately. The sailor, who did not have COVID-19, was transported to a Saudi hospital, where all precautionary and necessary medical measures were taken. His condition is now stable.     Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaChinaSaudi Border Guards Saudi border guards foil drug smuggling bidsSaudi Border Guards rescue 5 people at sea in Alkhobar and Yanbu

Saudis adopt new hobbies to get through quarantine

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 02:20 JEDDAH: As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to change people’s lives, some have decided to be proactive and pick up new hobbies to cope with the crisis. Arab News spoke to a number of Saudi youths wh
Saudi Arabia

Saudis adopt new hobbies to get through quarantine

Author: Fri, 2020-05-29 02:20 JEDDAH: As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to change people’s lives, some have decided to be proactive and pick up new hobbies to cope with the crisis. Arab News spoke to a number of Saudi youths who have transformed their free time into something positive to cure their quarantine blues. Many attested that it was easy to get swept up in anxiety during the self-isolation period but suggested some things people could do to mitigate the worst of its effects. Razan Sijeeni, graphic design lecturer from Jeddah, chose gardening as an escape. Feeling a need to connect to the earth, she began to research. Sijeeni began to take an interest in plants a few years back, buying a simple potted one from IKEA to decorate her office, or learning more about the environment sweet potatoes needed in order to thrive.  “I began researching quite a lot, visiting gardening nurseries and purchasing little plants like jasmine, basil and aloe vera back when curfew began after 6 p.m.,” she told Arab News. Sijeeni was surprised to see her small plants survive longer the more she took care of them. “Gardening is a very therapeutic process, and watching something come to life through your care has been extremely rewarding,” she said. “At some point, one of the flowers I had planted some two months prior bloomed; I’d completely forgotten about it. I saw it across my balcony and did a double take because just the night before, there had been nothing there at all.” Gardening has given Sijeeni much to reflect on. She said it has given her a chance to give back to nature “on a very small scale.”  The task is also time consuming, so it takes her mind off the quarantine-induced anxiety. “Gardening also teaches you a lot about patience and about yourself. The life of a plant is much like the life cycle of a person. There are moments of glory, where you’re blooming and shining, and then there are very dark moments. It’s the natural order of things,” she said. Even after strict curfew hours were implemented throughout the Kingdom, Sijeeni did not abandon her new hobby.  She began using vegetables and fruits, eggshells, and potato and banana peels to recreate healthy soil at home. A tip she gives to all those interested in gardening is to use cinnamon as it seems to prevent the growth of fungus on plants. Gardening is a very therapeutic process, and watching something come to life through your care has been extremely rewarding. Razan Sijeeni, Graphic design lecturer “Plants don’t just die out. If you’re careful with them when they start to wither, you can work on them, trimming their dead leaves and watering them. You might find that they surprise you,” Sijeeni added. Nora Al-Nahi, a 28-year-old Saudi from Jeddah who works in the training department at a local company, began to use a diary for sketching and journaling. “It’s been a blessing,” she told Arab News. “I’ve always needed time to sit down and release my inner artist, and now I have plenty of it.” Al-Nahi used to draw a lot as a teenager, but growing up came with increased responsibilities, and soon enough university and work got in the way of her artistic endeavors. “I finally put to use a sketchbook a friend got me for my birthday a few years ago, and I doodle in it and create characters. I then use my other journal to decorate it with scrap photos or stickers I’d collected over time,” she said. Writing her emotions down, whether positive or negative, has helped Al-Nahi to relax. “It’s a form of self-expression. It brings out emotions I didn’t even know I was bottling up and holding on to. It really is therapeutic,” she added. Mona Sulaiman, 22, picked up a few coloring books and began adding color to each page little by little. The English major student said that the task distracted her from everything that was happening. “I just wanted something to keep me busy. I had no idea it would turn into a full-blown hobby. It has consumed my life. I began testing watercolors, mixing and matching various coloring and dotting styles,” she said. She added: “It definitely helps lessen my anxiety, and it’s a really fun activity to share with younger siblings or between parents and children.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: SaudisQuarantineCOVID-19 Saudis learning to live with lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic

Saudis head out as lockdown eases

Fri, 2020-05-29 02:27 JEDDAH/RIYADH: As the 24-hour-curfew period ended, residents of Saudi Arabia headed back outside on the first day of the government’s three-phase plan to transition back to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic. But as people rushe
Saudi Arabia

Saudis head out as lockdown eases

Fri, 2020-05-29 02:27 JEDDAH/RIYADH: As the 24-hour-curfew period ended, residents of Saudi Arabia headed back outside on the first day of the government’s three-phase plan to transition back to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic. But as people rushed to take advantage of the newly relaxed measures, streets quickly became crowded and several observers noticed that many were failing to observe social-distancing measures. Prince Abdulrahman bin Mosaad tweeted: “For there to be traffic in the streets is natural after canceling the 24-hour curfew, but what’s abnormal and unbelievable is the amount of people underestimating the necessity of putting on a face mask and a pair of gloves and keeping a two-meter space between people crowding at stores. This is only the first day. Unfortunately, I don’t think Shawwal 29 (June 21) will be the day we go back to normal.” In a follow-up tweet, Prince Abdulrahman reminded people that the pandemic does not have a cure or a vaccine yet, and wondered whether people would need to lose a loved one before they came to appreciate the severity of the situation. University lecturer, Abdulfattah Al-Qahtani (@fattah53), agreed, tweeting: “Sadly, not many understand the dangers of the virus, and what they could be doing to their loved ones. It’s very simple; don’t go out unless it’s necessary. If you absolutely have to, follow precautionary measures from wearing a mask to keeping an acceptable distance between you and others.” Abdulaziz Al-Omar (@11a_alomar) also replied with suggestions. “It’s important to monitor and penalize facilities and shops that do not follow precautionary regulations, as well as fines against those who don’t wear a mask and don’t keep their distance from others,” he tweeted. The hashtag #JeddahNow was quickly trending on Twitter in response to the number of people leaving their homes unnecessarily. A number of users suggested that individuals neglecting social distancing and going out in public without a mask and gloves would be “more afraid of a SR10,000 fine than they are of the pandemic.” However, many thought that people were overreacting to the traffic around the city’s corniche. Sa’ad Mughram (@saad_mghrm) tweeted: “Don’t blame people for traffic. There are families that have been pressed together for three months in small apartments and reef houses. It’s their right to go out and see the sky on a short car ride.” He added: “Overcrowding stores needs to be addressed, but things can be dealt with calmly, without overreacting and perfectionism from some.” Sadly, not many understand the dangers of the virus, and what they could be doing to their loved ones.  Abdulfattah Al-Qahtani , University lecturer Some hailed the efforts made by several popular stores around the Kingdom that are enforcing social distancing, such as Madinah’s Starbucks, where a photo circulating on social media showed people lined up with the recommended space between them, demonstrating what was described as “classy behavior.” Abdullah Al-Humaid, (@abn_humaid) commented: “It’s wonderful to see such awareness displayed in our society. These are people maintaining social distancing while wearing gloves and face masks.” Meanwhile, many headed onto the streets of Riyadh looking to regain a sense of normality. “Of course, I went out. I took my mom and sister and drove to the nearest mall to run some errands,” 26-year-old Sarah Al-Jasser told Arab News. However, Al-Jasser said she was unable to enter the shops inside the mall because of long queues. “I was surprised that people were out this early. We were at the mall by 9:30 a.m. and didn’t expect it to be this crowded,” she said. By 2:30 p.m. most shops and malls were already closed and empty of customers and shopkeepers, abiding by the 3 p.m. curfew. Rayed Mustafa, 33, told Arab News he believes the situation is still unsafe: “Just because the country is opening up doesn’t mean it’s safe to go out.”  However, that did not stop him from leaving  the house. “I pulled an all-nighter, put on my face mask and gloves and hit the streets at 6:30 a.m. to cruise the city.” He added that he stayed in his car and was merely hoping to get some fresh air for his mental well-being. “I’ve been confined in a very small apartment for over a month,” he said. “I needed that change of scenery.”  He said he made sure to abide by the safety and health measures put in place by the Ministry of Health, and refrained from mingling with people. Mustafa was taken aback by the number of people he saw on the streets.  “One of the main streets in Riyadh was filled to the brim — some celebrating, others going out for coffee,” he added. Billboards have been placed around the Kingdom reminding people to comply with the recommended precautions in order to ensure their safety. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCOVID-19 Saudi Arabia announces 16 more deaths from COVID-19 as restrictions partially easedSaudis reveal their post-COVID-19 wish lists

Pentagon confirms its ‘long-term’ commitment with Saudi Arabia

Thu, 2020-05-28 14:34 DUBAI: The United States remains committed to long-term defense contracts with Saudi Arabia, Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson told Arab News sister newspaper Asharq al-Awsat in a statement. US forces maintain “strong capabilities
Saudi Arabia

Pentagon confirms its ‘long-term’ commitment with Saudi Arabia

Thu, 2020-05-28 14:34 DUBAI: The United States remains committed to long-term defense contracts with Saudi Arabia, Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson told Arab News sister newspaper Asharq al-Awsat in a statement. US forces maintain “strong capabilities” in various regional operations, including air defense, to deal with any emergencies related to Iran, Robertson was cited by the paper on Thursday. Earlier in May the US removed two of its Patriot missile systems from Saudi Arabia. But Robertson said this was about relocating, rather than removing. “The Department of Defense is doing routine work in managing its power around the world,” he explained “In light of the current global crisis, some of its equipment and forces are being rotated to address emerging threats and maintain preparedness.” “We continue to work with the international community and the Saudi armed forces to strengthen regional air defense capabilities,” he said. “This is a multi-lateral and long-term effort, as the US-Saudi defense partnership is long-term. And includes a group of cooperation to include the fight against terrorism, maritime security and air defense,” he said. Washington aims to maintain its ability to increase its forces in the region in a short time, the US Naval Commander said. The statement came shortly after the US and Saudi forces conducted a routine and joint sustainment training on and around Karan and Kurayn islands this week. The training follows a training program that took place from April 20 to 22. Commanding officer, Col. Trevor Hall said the US appreciated Saudi Arabia for allowing the US navy to train on these islands. “Being able to train on these islands allows our team to expand upon our previous training by adding capabilities and assets from our partners in the region. The ability to plan and operate with other forces supports our ability to rapidly deploy aviation, maritime, and ground combat elements – all from over the horizon – at a moment’s notice in order to support maritime security, freedom of navigation, and the free flow of commerce,” Hall said. The Saudi and US naval forces carried out deck operations, underwater beach surveys, maritime patrolling, boat lane security operations, and will establish a forward arming and refueling point for aviation assets to refuel. “These islands in the Arabian Gulf provide our Navy-Marine Corps team an ideal setting to prepare for a wide range of operations, while exercising seamless integration with our highly qualified partners,” said Capt. Lance Lesher said. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: PentagonSaudi ArabiaIran Saudi Arabia’s first rowing champion hopes to benefit from Tokyo Olympics delayPentagon to soon resume Saudi training halted after base shooting

Saudi Arabia announces 16 more deaths from COVID-19 as restrictions partially eased

Author: Zaynab KhojjiID: 1590671186690428600Thu, 2020-05-28 16:22 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 16 more deaths from the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 1,644 new cases of the disease on Thursday. The health ministry urged citizens and residents t
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia announces 16 more deaths from COVID-19 as restrictions partially eased

Author: Zaynab KhojjiID: 1590671186690428600Thu, 2020-05-28 16:22 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 16 more deaths from the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 1,644 new cases of the disease on Thursday. The health ministry urged citizens and residents to abide by measures to prevent the spread of the virus as the Kingdom starts to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Thursday. Of the new cases, 611 were recorded in Riyadh, 360 in Jeddah, 148 in Makkah, 101 in Dammam and 91 in Hufof. The health ministry also announced 3,531 new cases of recovery, which brings the total number of patients who have recovered in the Kingdom so far to 54,553. A total of 441 people have died from the coronavirus in the Kingdom so far. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCoronavirus Pentagon confirms its ‘long-term’ commitment with Saudi ArabiaDiplomatic Quarter: Envoys extend Eid greetings to Saudis

Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

Thu, 2020-05-28 17:07 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's minister of Islamic affairs called on Muslims to respect ongoing preventative measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) inside mosques as the Kingdom eases some restrictions. Sheikh Abdullatif Al
Saudi Arabia

Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

Thu, 2020-05-28 17:07 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's minister of Islamic affairs called on Muslims to respect ongoing preventative measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) inside mosques as the Kingdom eases some restrictions. Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said worshipers should bring their own prayer mats, wear masks and wash their hands prior to coming to the mosque to ensure the safety of other worshippers.  Al-Asheikh said preventative measures will remain in place to ensure a safe return of worshipers to mosques for Friday prayers from May 31 until June 20, except in Makkah.  Worshippers must keep two meters apart and leave a row of space empty between each row, he said. The minister said the elderly and children under 15 should continue to avoid going to the mosque.  The instructions follow other announcements in the Kingdom relaxing aspects of the lockdown, including reducing curfews and allowing freer movement of people.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: CoronavirusSaudi Arabia Pentagon confirms its ‘long-term’ commitment with Saudi Arabia

Najran governor reviews plans for new measures against COVID-19

Author: Thu, 2020-05-28 01:37 NAJRAN: Najran Gov. Prince Jalawi bin Abdul Aziz held an emergency meeting on Wednesday with a number of officials from the region to review the relevant authorities’ plans for new measures against the COVID-19 pandemic f
Saudi Arabia

Najran governor reviews plans for new measures against COVID-19

Author: Thu, 2020-05-28 01:37 NAJRAN: Najran Gov. Prince Jalawi bin Abdul Aziz held an emergency meeting on Wednesday with a number of officials from the region to review the relevant authorities’ plans for new measures against the COVID-19 pandemic following the recent royal approval allowing amended curfew hours, the reopening of some economic and commercial activities — including ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, the reintroduction of domestic flights and internal travel between regions, and Friday prayers in mosques. It was decided that the General Directorate of Health Affairs in Najran will be responsible for evaluating the measures put in place at government agencies, workplaces, airports, and commercial venues.  The Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Najran and the secretariat will be responsible for sanitizing and preparing mosques, marking carpets to ensure a safe distance between worshippers is maintained.  The management of Najran airport, in cooperation with airlines, will be responsible for ensuring all travelers abide by the measures from the moment they enter the airport until they board their flights. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCoronavirus Najran governor chairs virtual graduation ceremonyNajran governor reviews electricity strategies, service enhancement projects

$10.5m project to fight malaria in Yemen

Thu, 2020-05-28 01:56 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is leading a $10.5 million fight against the life-threatening disease malaria in Yemen. The 18-month project, being carried out by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in partnership with
Saudi Arabia

$10.5m project to fight malaria in Yemen

Thu, 2020-05-28 01:56 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is leading a $10.5 million fight against the life-threatening disease malaria in Yemen. The 18-month project, being carried out by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), will help to protect 7 million Yemenis from the parasitical infection spread by mosquitoes. Malaria has caused suffering and death in Yemen for years, particularly among children and pregnant women in coastal areas. Through more than 50 initiatives in affected provinces throughout the country, KSRelief aims to drastically reduce the spread of the disease. The executive program includes providing drugs for patients with moderate and severe malaria symptoms and boosting the WHO and Yemeni government’s medicine stocks to deal with any outbreaks. The Saudi center is also working to provide hospitals and health care centers with the necessary laboratory equipment and consumables for diagnosing malaria, while distributing pesticide-saturated mosquito nets to 1,300,000 refugees, and 1,500 automatic pumps to spray affected areas, houses, schools, and markets with pesticides to control mosquitoes. In addition, KSRelief has offered specialist equipment for identifying the genetic mutation of parasites, larvae and mosquitoes and locating areas where insecticide-resistant mosquitoes and larvae reproduce. Health awareness is a key part of the project too, with more than 3,500 health cadres undertaking skills training through one of Yemen’s largest programs of its kind. WHO specialists have been assigned to oversee the project and support Yemen’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) by sending Yemeni cadres abroad for six months to acquire specialized diplomas, which will contribute to the scheme’s sustainability and raise the efficiency of its workers. The executive project is also working to establish two centers to treat severe malaria cases along with seven central hospitals and provide them with diagnostic and treatment gear, medicines, and medical supplies for malaria cases. Similarly, the project is supporting the Health Ministry’s NMCP by sending 10 of its doctors on intensive specialized training in neighboring countries. Several initiatives and preventive measures aimed at combating the dengue epidemic in Yemen are underway as part of the aid project, such as the distribution of medicines and medical supplies. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCoronavirus Houthis’ ‘Iranian-style management’ of coronavirus pandemic endangers millions: Yemen minister 8 killed in Houthi attack on Yemen’s army chief

Jeddah tests over 100,000 laborers for COVID-19

Thu, 2020-05-28 02:01 JEDDAH: More than 108,000 laborers in Jeddah have been tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) the city’s Labor Housing Committee has announced. Alongside the testing, inspections have been carried out in a total of 591 building
Saudi Arabia

Jeddah tests over 100,000 laborers for COVID-19

Thu, 2020-05-28 02:01 JEDDAH: More than 108,000 laborers in Jeddah have been tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) the city’s Labor Housing Committee has announced. Alongside the testing, inspections have been carried out in a total of 591 buildings in which the laborers are living to verify compliance with precautionary measures, the committee said.   Meanwhile, Al-Jouf municipality has fined more than 200 delivery workers and issued 600 warnings for safety violations including not wearing gloves and/or masks, having no sanitizers in vehicles, a lack of cleanliness, and a lack of medical certificates for workers.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCoronavirus Jeddah tests over 100,000 laborers for coronavirus, inspects living conditionsSaudis land in Jeddah on COVID-19 repatriation flights from Khartoum, Tunisia 

Diplomatic Quarter: Envoys extend Eid greetings to Saudis

Author: Thu, 2020-05-28 02:26 RIYADH: Foreign ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have been passing on their Eid Al-Fitr greetings to the government and people of the Kingdom. The US Mission in the Kingdom, tweeted: “The US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John
Saudi Arabia

Diplomatic Quarter: Envoys extend Eid greetings to Saudis

Author: Thu, 2020-05-28 02:26 RIYADH: Foreign ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have been passing on their Eid Al-Fitr greetings to the government and people of the Kingdom. The US Mission in the Kingdom, tweeted: “The US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid on behalf of all Americans living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia greeted saying, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Eid Mubarak to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and all our Saudi friends and colleagues as you celebrate this special holiday. “May your Eid be joyous, even in this challenging time as we work together to fight (the) coronavirus (disease) COVID-19.” In a tweet, the Australian ambassador in Riyadh, Ridwaan Jadwat, said: “Wishing everyone celebrating the end of Ramadan a joyous Eid Al-Fitr on behalf of my family and our embassy team: #EidMubarak!” Posting a video message to the Saudi people, he added: “May I say on behalf of my family and the team here at the Australian Embassy in Riyadh, I hope that you have a safe, happy and blessed Eid Al-Fitr.” Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, said: “May you all be blessed with #Peace, #Joy and #Love on #EidUlFitr and always! #EidMubarak to you and your families.” Eid Al-Fitr celebrations this year have been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The holy month of Ramadan and the festival of Eid in 2020 will be remembered as a time when traditions had to be broken to stop the spread of the deadly virus. In a message addressing Saudis, the Pakistani community in the Kingdom, and Muslims around the world, Pakistan’s consul general in Jeddah, Khalid Majid, said: “This year, we are celebrating Eid in a very simple and somber manner. Undoubtedly, the world is passing through one of the most difficult times due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has badly affected our socio-economic life.” He added that many people had already lost their lives to the disease while large numbers were still battling with it. “Besides, the death of around 100 of our Pakistani brethren in a recent PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) plane crash at Karachi has also left us sad and gloomy. My sincere prayers are with all those who lost their lives and also with their bereaved families. At the same time, I also sincerely pray for the good health and speedy recovery of all the COVID-19 patients. “My deep appreciation and prayers for continued success also goes to all our frontline soldiers including doctors, paramedics, law enforcement agencies and all other involved departments, who are fighting against this deadly virus, at the risk of their own lives. “I take this opportunity to convey my deepest gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for taking very effective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. Provision of best health facilities and efficient other services across the Kingdom are instrumental in effectively tackling the situation. It is evident from these steps that the recovery rate in the Kingdom is one of the highest in the world,” Majid said. “I advise all Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia to continue abiding by all local health and safety instructions, including those relating to social distancing, so that we can all be safe and play our part in strengthening the efforts of the Saudi government in defeating this pandemic.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaDIPLOMATIC QUARTER Diplomatic Quarter: Pakistani ambassador sends off first batch of stranded nationals Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh names park after German engineer

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi drones launched toward Saudi Arabia’s Najran

Wed, 2020-05-27 19:35 RIYADH: The Arab coalition has intercepted drones that were launched by the Houthis toward residential areas in the Saudi city of Najran, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.  Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said t
Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi drones launched toward Saudi Arabia’s Najran

Wed, 2020-05-27 19:35 RIYADH: The Arab coalition has intercepted drones that were launched by the Houthis toward residential areas in the Saudi city of Najran, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.  Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Houthi militia continued to violate international humanitarian law by launching drones and deliberately targeting civilians and residential areas, threatening the lives of hundreds of civilians. Al-Maliki added that the attack shows that the Houthis reject the ceasefire initiative announced by the Arab coalition last month. He also said the Houthis have violated the ceasefire 4,455 times so far.  The coalition continues to take deterrent measures against the Houthis in line with international law. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaYemenHouthis Houthis’ ‘Iranian-style management’ of coronavirus pandemic endangers millions: Yemen minister Yemen's government accuses Houthis of covering up coronavirus outbreak

Saudi landlords exempt tenants from paying rent

Wed, 2020-05-27 22:56 RIYADH: A large number of Saudi landlords have shown their support by exempting tenants from paying rent to mitigate the impact of the losses incurred by many tenants. Most of the landlords gave few months free for tenants. However, t
Saudi Arabia

Saudi landlords exempt tenants from paying rent

Wed, 2020-05-27 22:56 RIYADH: A large number of Saudi landlords have shown their support by exempting tenants from paying rent to mitigate the impact of the losses incurred by many tenants. Most of the landlords gave few months free for tenants. However, tenants say the exemption should be commensurate with the losses which the tenant has incurred.  Some tenants said their business sales have dropped significantly and have not sold a single product for days. Ismail Darwish, CEO of the Al-Tas’heelat Holding Group, said, «Wafi Energy, which is one of our subsidiaries, is a fuel station company that rents, operates, invests in and runs fuel stations through long-term investment contracts. Wafi Energy sublets the facilities of the fuel station to different business activities including grocery stores, oil change shops, cafés, restaurants and ATMs.” The revenues of a fuel station and the facilities on the premises  depend on the flow of vehicle movement, so if a crisis, let alone a pandemic, occurs, the business will be definitely impacted, explained Aldarwish, who has been working for 15 years in the sector.   The initiative is a response to the crisis and aims to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and protect as well as help the tenants, especially in the light of the fact that the negative impact is not limited to the tenants, but it also reaches the property owners and the investors. “One of the solutions available to us as investors and tenants of the land is to get discount on the rent from the property owner in order to mitigate the impact of the crisis and provide the owners of other activities with more flexible solutions and exemptions,” he pointed out.   At the outset, Aldarwish considered giving all the tenants a three-month rent free but he decided it would not be fair to everyone, so he decided to implement this idea based on the site and the business activity. “We assessed the impact on each business activity based on the geographic location of the business. For example, the tenants at a fuel station that is located on the outskirts of the city have sustained more impact than their counterparts within the city. Also, the extent of the impact on an oil change shop is not similar to the one on a grocery store, he added. “We worked hard to mitigate the impact on the tenants and the lessors. No doubt that the government has borne the brunt of the impact of this crisis and has given more than it has taken, setting a great example to others in terms of unity in the face of pandemics,” he stressed. Ahmed Alrajhi, the director of the real estate department at TAPA Real Estate Company, said the Landlord Initiative was inspired by an initiative launched by the Chamber of Commerce in the Eastern Province. The Chamber called upon the landlords to exempt investors from paying the rent to alleviate the suffering their businesses have gone through because of the crisis.   »We showed our full support for the initiative and gave two months free to all current tenants and three months free to all prospective tenants. We also allowed the Saudi Red Crescent personnel in the Eastern Province to use one of our buildings for three months and we distributed 7,500 food baskets to impoverished families at different regions Kingdom-wide. We have put our real estate properties at the disposal of the Ministry of Health during the quarantine period as part of our national duty and to show our true appreciation and gratitude for those who have put their lives on line for us,« Alrajhi said. Each and every tenant is viewed as a partner to whom »we offer our full support during the pandemic.« Alrajhi pointed out that the company is eager to maintain a strong relationship with the tenants even after the end of the crisis. All the tenants, he noted, are happy because of the offer proposed by the company. Marzoog A. Albalawy, who owns a real estate company in Al-Khafji Governorate, exempted the tenants from paying two months' rent starting March 25th as a way to support them. »Many of the tenants have incurred losses because of the COVID-19. We wanted them to help as part of our national duty and to pay back to community,« noted Albalawy, who chairs the Eastern Province Business Council in Al-Khafji. The initiative covered leased apartments and villas and the discount varied depending on how bad the impact was on the tenant, be it a Saudi or a non-Saudi; the exemptions covered citizens and residents. He noted that Al-Khafji was the first to have seen a large number of COVID-19 cases. »We view tenants as our partners, which means their success is ours. We feel great pain when we see some landlord do not try to help the tenants whose businesses have suffered immensely. The losses of a business might lead to catastrophic results to many families whose breadwinners work in such businesses,” he explained.   Zaki Alagl, who owns accessory stores east Riyadh, hopes the landlord will deduct three months’ rent in the first half of the year and three months’ in the second half of the year because his businesses has suffered huge losses. “Sales at our stores have dropped significantly following COVID-19 and people are no more interested in buying accessories because they sit at home all the time and rarely would they go shopping. Most of our customers are women. It is difficult for them to get out during the daytime because the weather is hot,” he said. Firas Aljarrah, a social entrepreneurship specialist, described the initiative as instrumental for promoting and encouraging social solidarity among all members of the public. During times of crises, everyone often gets affected and needs help; therefore, collaboration and cooperation among one another becomes crucial for pulling through the crisis with the least damage possible, he explained, urging every member of society to do whatever they can to help others. The real challenge any financial initiative might encounter is that people who have come up with the initiative are also prone to the impact of the crisis. As a result, they might get hesitant about offering any type of support for fear of incurring more losses. When the initiative is launched by an organization that adopts a corporate social responsibility policy, the loyalty of employees will be bolstered while the company will be more capable of attracting the right talented cadre and better market its services. The benefits on the long will vary but will definitely reassure businesses and spur them on to think creatively and outside of the box. No doubt that the positive impact of the initiative is tremendous and will reassure businesses and help them come up with creative and innovative solutions during times of hardships and crises, something which businesses desperately need these days. There is also a positive impact on the long run – the businesses will return the favor to society.  Dr. Khalid Alharthi, the head of Mubadiroon Volunteer Team, said one of the brighter sides of a crisis is the fact that it strengthens social solidarity and ties, adding that social initiatives are essential during the time of a crisis because they can alleviate the suffering of the weak and frail. One of the major challenges that a social initiative might encounter at the present time is the weak performance of the media targeting charity work. This type of media has not improved its tools to keep up with the latest developments in the world of conventional and digital media. Another challenge is the absence of public trust, which discourses many members of society from supporting such initiatives.   The proposer of an initiative should seize every opportunity available in any field, be it health, education, culture or development, and work to bring benefit to the entire society. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Arabia Stay-at-home order a relief for Saudi government workersPay the rent or eat? Jobless face dilemma

Saudis learning to live with lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic

Wed, 2020-05-27 23:02 JEDDAH/RIYADH: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has brought about a seismic shift in the daily lives of people around the world. Lockdowns, self-isolation, and social distancing will be spoken about for generations to come
Saudi Arabia

Saudis learning to live with lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic

Wed, 2020-05-27 23:02 JEDDAH/RIYADH: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has brought about a seismic shift in the daily lives of people around the world. Lockdowns, self-isolation, and social distancing will be spoken about for generations to come once the global health crisis is over. And many lessons will have been learned as the world steadily comes to terms with forced changes to everyday routines, both at work and at home, as a result of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak. Fahd Mohammad, a 31-year-old Pakistani expat who is currently quarantined with his family, told Arab News that the virus had changed his perspective on life. “We have a new understanding of what is important and what is not. We need to be more prepared about sudden big changes in life, save more, and build our own health in a way that it can fight such challenges,” he said. Hafsa Khalid, a teacher who lives in Jeddah, said the pandemic had impacted on her job. “Being an educator, this pandemic has brought a major change in my way of teaching and how I have to associate it with my lessons while giving online classes. “This includes everything from simple concepts, such as why hygiene matters and how germs spread, to more complex topics like ethical decision-making, the science behind how viral infections work, or the mathematics underpinning pandemics,” she added. “I am finding ways to help the kids I teach to rise above the noise with unique, thoughtful lessons. I have become more careful and observant in my everyday lifestyle and routine.” Khalid said that some of the habits she wanted to keep after the crisis was over included praying, meditating, reading, creating, and spending quality time with family. Rooftop family gatherings and workouts have helped to maintain her sanity and relieve her anxiety during the lockdown, she added. “Fresh air and starry nights work wonders.” Aya Karim, a 24-year-old Saudi university student, said that in the grand scheme of things she had developed some beneficial habits, including time management. “On a smaller scale due to the coronavirus, I have learned how to spend time at home and time management. It has also turned me into a germaphobe, and I find myself going out of my way to be cautious. I like to think that I will sustain these habits,” she added. The COVID-19 outbreak had also afforded her time to explore the world of fitness and she hoped that global lessons will have been learned about how to combat any future pandemics. “Not just the coronavirus but anything else — the precautions and the general course of action.” Cricket coach Hasnat Ahmed, 31, said it had been a struggle to move his field activities to online platforms. “From a proactive sports coach on the field to day-to-day life at a standstill, the coronavirus has drastically changed my world — there is no room for sport as we know it. The usual structure has totally changed from conducting physical sports sessions to adapting to virtual sessions,” Ahmed added. Deema Al-Sehli, a project design manager, said: “I have learned to enjoy simple pleasures such as an ice cream cone while watching my favorite series.” Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Shalhoub, a Riyadh-based financial analyst, said people should learn “to seize the moment, live life to the full, look forward to the future and never look back.” Banker, Aliah Abudhear, pointed out that quarantine would help many people to appreciate that health and parents were “an invaluable blessing.” She said that living through the pandemic would also help encourage financial prudence. “During this crisis, we have discovered that we always spent on accessories, not necessities, so we have to have a long-term savings plan.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaCOVID-19 Saudi Arabia announces 14 more deaths from COVID-19 Domestic flights to resume in Saudi Arabia

Saudi aviation authority denies increase in tickets prices, flights resume Sunday 

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 23:52 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Wednesday denied there would be any increase in ticket prices.  GACA spokesman, Ibrahim Alrosa, said that the rumors about an 80 percent increase i
Saudi Arabia

Saudi aviation authority denies increase in tickets prices, flights resume Sunday 

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 23:52 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Wednesday denied there would be any increase in ticket prices.  GACA spokesman, Ibrahim Alrosa, said that the rumors about an 80 percent increase in domestic flight prices were false. The authority plans to operate 60 domestic flights as services resume from Sunday after Saudi authorities announced a three-phased plan, leading to a return to normal life in the Kingdom in less than a month. “Based on what was submitted by the competent health authorities in the Kingdom regarding the return of some vital activities, in accordance with the health controls and precautionary measures taken to combat coronavirus, the GACA announces the issuance of its approval for the resumption of domestic flights starting on Sunday, May 31, 2020, by the national air carriers,” an official statement said. The authority said that it had completed its operational preparations to gradually lift the suspension of domestic flights to ensure a safe travel journey for travelers through Saudi airports, while taking all necessary preventive measures. GACA said that it would work in coordination with airports, air carriers and companies operating in the civil aviation sector to meet demand in the local market. The resumption of domestic flights will be in stages to include all local destinations within two weeks. The first stage includes the operation of 11 airports across the Kingdom: King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah, Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Qassim, Abha International Airport, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Tabuk, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jazan, Hail International Airport, King Saud Airport in Al Bahah and Najran Airport. Saudi Arabia suspended international flights from March 15 and domestic flights from March 21 in response to the spread of COVID-19. However, there was an exception for flights related to humanitarian and emergency cases, medical evacuation aircrafts and private aviation, in addition to the repatriation of stranded citizens who wished to return home as well as flights of the Saudi “Return” initiative for expats wishing to go back to their countries. All international flights remain suspended until further notice. Meanwhile, 14 new coronavirus disease deaths were recorded in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, raising the overall toll to 425. A total of 1,815 new cases were reported in the Kingdom, meaning 78,541 people in Saudi Arabia have now contracted the disease. The health ministry also announced that 2,572 more patients had recovered from coronavirus, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 51,022.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaGeneral Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictionsSaudi aviation authority adopts aviation safety measures

Dr. Abdullah bin Ali Alaaraj, dean of the Makkah College of Technology

Thu, 2020-05-28 00:58 Dr. Abdullah bin Ali Alaaraj has been the dean of the Makkah College of Technology (MCT) since 2018. He is also an adviser to the president of Umm Al-Qura University (UQU) and a columnist at the Makkah daily newspaper. In 1990, Alaara
Saudi Arabia

Dr. Abdullah bin Ali Alaaraj, dean of the Makkah College of Technology

Thu, 2020-05-28 00:58 Dr. Abdullah bin Ali Alaaraj has been the dean of the Makkah College of Technology (MCT) since 2018. He is also an adviser to the president of Umm Al-Qura University (UQU) and a columnist at the Makkah daily newspaper. In 1990, Alaaraj attended UQU, where he attained a bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on education. In 2004, he was awarded a master’s degree in TESOL studies from the University of Queensland, Australia. In 2013, Alaaraj gained a Ph.D. in applied linguistics from the University of Essex, the UK. Alaaraj worked as an English language instructor in a number of government and private intermediate and secondary schools for nearly six years. After that he moved to the MCT to teach general English and English for mechanical, electrical, economic and computing purposes. From 2002 to 2003, Alaaraj chaired the English language center at MCT where he set future plans for learning and teaching development. For three years beginning from 2005, Alaaraj supervised all the teaching units of the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) in the Makkah region.  Alaaraj, who has worked as a freelance journalist during his professional career, was an English language trainer in a number of education institutions including King Abdul Aziz University and the Arab Open University. He has attended many conferences and academic assemblies in the US and the UK, where he presented papers on applied linguistics at renowned universities such as the University of London, the University of Warwick and the Canterbury Christ Church University. Alaaraj’s Twitter handle is @dralaaraj. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Who's Who Dr. Khaled bin Hussein Al-Biyari, Saudi assistant minister of defense for executive affairsDr. Majdah Abdulhadi Shugdar, Saudi executive

Jeddah tests over 100,000 laborers for coronavirus, inspects living conditions

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 13:16 More than 108,000 workers have been tested for coronavirus and their living conditions inspected by the Labor Housing Committee in Jeddah, state news agency SPA reported. A total of 591 buildings were checked to verify com
Saudi Arabia

Jeddah tests over 100,000 laborers for coronavirus, inspects living conditions

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 13:16 More than 108,000 workers have been tested for coronavirus and their living conditions inspected by the Labor Housing Committee in Jeddah, state news agency SPA reported. A total of 591 buildings were checked to verify compliance with the precautionary measures, the committee said.   The committee also provided isolation rooms for those who are suspected of being infected with COVID-19.  Saudi Arabia reported 1,931 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 76,726, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: JeddahCoronaviirus

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more deaths from COVID-19 

Wed, 2020-05-27 16:26 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 14 more deaths from COVID-19 and 1,815 new cases of the disease on Wednesday.  Of the new cases, 739 were recorded in Riyadh, 325 in Jeddah, 162 in Makkah, 118 in Hufof and 74 in Dammam.  The health
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more deaths from COVID-19 

Wed, 2020-05-27 16:26 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 14 more deaths from COVID-19 and 1,815 new cases of the disease on Wednesday.  Of the new cases, 739 were recorded in Riyadh, 325 in Jeddah, 162 in Makkah, 118 in Hufof and 74 in Dammam.  The health ministry also announced that 2,572 more patients had recovered from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of people who have recovered in the Kingdom to 51,022. A total of 425 people have died from COVID-19 in the Kingdom so far. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: CoronavirusSaudi Arabia Hundreds of delivery workers fined in Saudi Arabia for safety violations

Saudi Arabia’s private sector employees to return to their offices

Author: Zaynab KhojjiID: 1590591719904675200Wed, 2020-05-27 18:19 RIYADH: Private sector employees will be able to start working from their offices soon, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said on Wednesday. The mi
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s private sector employees to return to their offices

Author: Zaynab KhojjiID: 1590591719904675200Wed, 2020-05-27 18:19 RIYADH: Private sector employees will be able to start working from their offices soon, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said on Wednesday. The ministry added that all private sector entities must prepare work spaces so that they are in line with Ministry of Health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Kingdom is easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Thursday and there will be a three-phase return to normality. Saudi Arabia announced 14 more deaths from COVID-19 and 1,815 new cases of the disease on Wednesday. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: CoronavirusSaudi Arabia Saudi Arabia announces 14 more deaths from COVID-19 Hundreds of delivery workers fined in Saudi Arabia for safety violations

Saudi Arabia's crown prince and Putin agree to 'close coordination' on oil output

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 19:07 MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a telephone call, agreed on further «close coordination» on oil output restrictions, the Kremlin said on Wednesday
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's crown prince and Putin agree to 'close coordination' on oil output

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 19:07 MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a telephone call, agreed on further «close coordination» on oil output restrictions, the Kremlin said on Wednesday. They also both noted the importance of joint efforts aimed at reaching the agreements within the OPEC+ group in April on oil production curbs, the Kremlin said. Main category: Saudi Arabia

Saudi shootout leaves 6 dead, 3 injured

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 08:39 DUBAI: Six Saudis died and three others were injured in a shootout in Asir, state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday. Police have confiscated the weapons and are investigating the incident, Asir police media spokesman m
Saudi Arabia

Saudi shootout leaves 6 dead, 3 injured

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 08:39 DUBAI: Six Saudis died and three others were injured in a shootout in Asir, state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday. Police have confiscated the weapons and are investigating the incident, Asir police media spokesman major Zaid Al-Dabbash said. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaAsir Saudi Arabia extends tourist visas for 3 months for freeAsir governor inspects health services in region

Hundreds of delivery workers fined in Saudi Arabia for safety violations

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 10:39 DUBAI: The Saudi municipality of Al-Jawf fined more than 200 delivery workers and issued 600 warnings for safety violations, state news agency SPA reported. The violations included not wearing gloves and masks, having no s
Saudi Arabia

Hundreds of delivery workers fined in Saudi Arabia for safety violations

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 10:39 DUBAI: The Saudi municipality of Al-Jawf fined more than 200 delivery workers and issued 600 warnings for safety violations, state news agency SPA reported. The violations included not wearing gloves and masks, having no sanitizers in vehicles, not keeping a safe distance between driver and food packages, a lack of cleanliness, and a lack of medical certificates for workers.  Regulations set by Al-Jawf municipality are meant to protect the health of consumers and prevent the spread of infectious disease, spokesperson Abdullah Al-Majed said. He also encouraged customers to report safety violations to the authority. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Arabiaal-jawf Saudi shootout leaves 6 dead, 3 injured

Asir governor inspects health services in region

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 01:53 ABHA: Asir Gov. Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz praised the Saudi leadership’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic during an inspection of health services in the region. The prince, who is als
Saudi Arabia

Asir governor inspects health services in region

Author: Wed, 2020-05-27 01:53 ABHA: Asir Gov. Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz praised the Saudi leadership’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic during an inspection of health services in the region. The prince, who is also supervisor of Asir’s regional COVID-19 management department, made his comments while visiting Prince Faisal bin Khaled Cardiac Center, and Asir Central Hospital, where he met health workers and patients. During his visit, Prince Turki greeted medical staff on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr and thanked them for their efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. The director general of Asir’s health affairs, Khaled bin Ayed Asiri, said the prince’s tour had provided a motivational boost to Asir’s “health heroes” and he expressed his gratitude for the governor’s ongoing support. Under Prince Turki’s directions, the health department in Asir has struck a balance between the suspension of some services and the continuation of others, and a number of initiatives have been launched to ensure the sustainability of health provision once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Asiri said that between March 1 and May 25, the cardiac center had performed 17 open-heart surgeries, 315 cardiac catheterizations, provided 80 medical consultations remotely, conducted 184,000 lab tests, and issued 5,200 medical prescriptions. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaAsir Saudi’s Asir Municipality enforces safe food packaging in restaurants to curb spread of coronavirusAsir governor reviews efforts to combat COVID-19