Opinion

Saudi Arabia announces 24-hour curfew for Eid Al-Fitr holiday

Health workers perform nose swab tests during a drive through coronavirus test campaign held in Diriyah hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh on May 7, 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (AFP)
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Updated 13 May 2020

Saudi Arabia announces 24-hour curfew for Eid Al-Fitr holiday

  • Saudi Arabia records highest daily virus recovery
  • From Thursday, people in all cities and regions across the Kingdom, excluding Makkah, will be allowed to move freely between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

JEDDAH: A 24-hour curfew will be imposed across the Kingdom during the five-day Eid Al-Fitr holiday (May 23 to 27) to check the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Until then economic activities will remain open and people can move freely between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., excluding Makkah, which remains under full curfew, the statement added.
Earlier, the Interior Ministry imposed an immediate 24-hour lockdown on Baish governorate in Jazan province.

 

Residents will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy essentials and for medical purposes between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Kingdom on Tuesday recorded its highest daily coronavirus recovery rate since the outbreak began almost two months ago.
The Ministry of Health registered 2,520 new recoveries, the highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic, raising the total number to 15,257.
However, Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly repeated his warnings on the risks of social gatherings.

FASTFACTS

• The Kingdom recorded 1,911 new cases on Tuesday.

• 2,520 people have recovered from the disease since the start of the pandemic.

• Of the total new cases, 82 percent are male and 69 percent expatriates.

• Nine new fatalities due to COVID-19 has pushed the death toll to 264.

The Health Ministry confirmed 1,911 new infections on Tuesday, raising the total to 42,925. There are now 27,404 active cases, 147 in critical condition.
Of the confirmed cases 82 percent were male and 18 percent female. Two percent were adults above the age of 65, while 6 percent were children.
The latest deaths of two Saudis and seven expats in Makkah, Riyadh and Wadi Al-Dawaser took the total number of fatalities to 264.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

The King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology has developed a simulation model to monitor urban movements using AI technology.
Saudi experts in fields including epidemiology and mathematics helped to develop the model, which showed that by adhering to preventive and precautionary measures to combat the spread of the virus.
Plans are underway to expand the model to include all cities in the Kingdom.

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$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

Updated 06 July 2020

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

  • Saudi capital’s planning chief unveils ambitious strategy ahead of G20 urban development summit

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is launching a SR3 trillion ($800 billion) plan to double the size of Riyadh in the next decade and transform it into an economic, social and cultural hub for the region.

The ambitious strategy for the capital city was unveiled by Fahd Al-Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, ahead of key meetings of the U20, the arm of the G20 leaders’ summit that deals with urban development and strategy.

“Riyadh is already a very important economic engine for the Kingdom, and although it’s already very successful, the plan now, under Vision 2030, is to actually take that way further, to double the population to 15 million people,” he told Arab News.

“We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over SR1 trillion, over $250 billion, to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years. It’s a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens.”

About $250 billion in investment is expected from the private sector, with the same amount generated by increased economic activity from population growth, finance and banking, cultural and desert tourism, and leisure events.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 18 megaprojects have already been launched worth over $250 billion.
  • 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years.
  • King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London.

“We must also ensure the growth is managed properly, so there will be a focus on transport and logistics, including the Riyadh metro which will open at the beginning of next year. The aim is to increase productivity,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plan involves the creation of a “mega industrial zone” focusing on advanced technology such as renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics. Another key feature is sustainability, with energy conservation, the circular carbon economy with its emphasis on reducing emissions, and water management, all priorities.

“You will see 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years, and King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London,” Al-Rasheed said.

The city also aims to be a Middle East artistic and cultural hub. An opera house is being considered, as well as public art shows with 1,000 works commissioned from around the world. “We have not seen anything like it since Renaissance Florence,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plans will be discussed this week during online meetings of the U20 linking Riyadh with Houston. The Texas oil capital is suffering a new spike in coronavirus cases and pandemics will be on the agenda. “We want to deal with this one, but also be ready for the next one,” Al-Rasheed said.