450k Umrah pilgrims sent back home amid pandemic

Over 60,000 pilgrims were sent back to their home countries through special flights during the five-day Eid holiday. (AFP)
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Updated 29 May 2020

450k Umrah pilgrims sent back home amid pandemic

  • Around 1,500 pilgrims, who were stranded in the country, also left in April.

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.
 


Preserving heritage means securing the future, says Princess Haifa

Updated 05 July 2020

Preserving heritage means securing the future, says Princess Haifa

  • Saudi Arabia is at the 209th session to discuss international issues related to the fields of education, science and culture

PARIS: Princess Haifa bint Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to UNESCO, said that changes can only be faced with global efforts to achieve the common goals of promoting peace, building cultural bridges between nations, and empowering societies to guarantee a better future.

Saudi Arabia recently participated in the 209th session of the UNESCO Executive Council at the agency’s Paris headquarters. The Kingdom was represented at the session by Princess Haifa and a team of 26 Saudi experts from different sectors that have activities related to the scope of UNESCO’s work, such as education, culture, energy, environment, and training.

Princess Haifa said: “Despite our different cultures and languages, we share our belief that education is a right for everyone, that preserving heritage means securing the future, and that innovation and science are the bridge that will pull us out of this pandemic the world today is living.”

She said that the Kingdom supported African countries and was ready to share its experiences in various UNESCO fields, in addition to supporting action plans related to developing islands as one of its priorities in exchanging experiences, especially since the Kingdom is one of the most advanced countries in the world in the field of water desalination.

Reference was made to the Kingdom’s support for international growth and stability through the G20 presidency, specifically with regard to ensuring the continuity of education in crises, the continuation of efforts to achieve climate adaptation worldwide, and solidarity with the members of the G20 in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a member state of the UNESCO Executive Council, Saudi Arabia is at the 209th session to discuss international issues related to the fields of education, science and culture. These will be evaluated and decided upon, and the executive decisions assigned to them will be voted on, in cooperation with the council’s member states.

The Kingdom’s participation in the meetings of the UNESCO Executive Council also comes as part of its permanent presence in the international cultural and educational organization since its foundation in 1946.

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