Health Ministry issues guide to tourists in Saudi Arabia

Fitness centers in the Al-Jouf region started receiving those interested in practicing healthy activities. (SPA)
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Updated 30 June 2020

Health Ministry issues guide to tourists in Saudi Arabia

  • Social distancing and handwashing among key measures

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has recommended measures to tourists and travelers to prevent them from contracting or spreading coronavirus.

The measures are to be taken while traveling, in residence, in open recreational areas such as beaches and parks, in closed entertainment places, while out shopping, and in restaurants and cinemas. There are also measures to be taken while in children’s company.
The ministry published an infographic on its Twitter account and its educational platform, Live Well, telling people to respect social distancing and call the free toll number 937 when coming into contact with people who might be infected and showing symptoms such as coughing, fever or shortness of breath.
It called on everyone to wear face masks in public, wash their hands or sanitize them for 20 seconds.
It also warned against sharing utensils with others, shaking hands, hugs, or touching the eyes or nose. It advised people to cough or sneeze into their elbow, or cover their mouth and nose with a handkerchief and dispose of it immediately afterwards. The ministry also stressed on keeping a safe distance of no less than two meters.
Anyone with symptoms is advised to use the Mawid app for self-evaluation, visit one of the 237 clinics specialized in dealing with COVID-19 infection cases, or message the WhatsApp number 920005937 for health information and services. They can also get updates on developments related to the pandemic,
primary care centers, blood donation centers, and ways to set appointments.

FASTFACT

The ministry published an infographic on its Twitter account and its educational platform, Live Well, telling people to respect social distancing and call the free toll number 937 when coming into contact with people who might be infected and showing symptoms.

With the majority of lockdown restrictions now lifted in Saudi Arabia the Jeddah Municipality carried out inspection tours of women’s beauty salons and hairdressers to ensure the implementation of precautionary measures to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Zahrani, deputy mayor of Jeddah’s sub-municipalities, said that 185 inspection tours had been carried out since women’s salons had reopened and that 17 centers were penalized for not following the measures.
A number of closed stores have undergone the necessary procedures in preparation for reopening.
After months of lockdown and curfews across the Kingdom, Jeddah’s waterfront started receiving visitors again. Protocols and precautionary measures have been put in place to limit the spread of the virus.
Saudis and expats were happy to return to the city’s famous corniche, enjoying its services, open spaces, walkways and restaurants, amid a heavy presence of security staff to organize the traffic.
Many visitors chose to spend their time at the waterfront walking or riding their bikes. Children were able to enjoy the games and attractions that the municipality had sterilized and disinfected for their protection.
The levels of visitors’ social awareness and responsibility was reflected in their commitment to social distancing.
Restaurants along the corniche have also been abiding by preventive protocols and serving people in line with health measures to ensure everyone’s safety.
The Kingdom recorded 48 new COVID-19-related deaths on Monday, raising the total to 1,599.
There were 3,943 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 186,436 people have now contracted the disease. There are 57,719 active cases, and 2,285 of them are in a critical condition.
According to the Ministry of Health, 433 of the newly recorded cases were in Al-Hafouf, while Riyadh reported 363, and there were 357 in Dammam.
In addition, 2,363 more patients have recovered from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries to 127,118.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 1,591,141 tests for COVID-19.


Saudi Arabia issues protocols to ensure safety of pilgrims during Hajj

Updated 06 July 2020

Saudi Arabia issues protocols to ensure safety of pilgrims during Hajj

  • All rituals will be performed as per the rules set by the authorities to control the spread of coronavirus
  • From July 19, authorities will prohibit all entry into Mina, Muzdalifa, and Arafat without permits

JEDDAH: With coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases still surging throughout the world, Saudi Arabia has limited the number of pilgrims to performing this year’s Hajj and put several protocols in place.

The Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya) has set the protocols to decrease the infection rate and ensure pilgrims’ safety. Saudi Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah announced earlier last month that the number of pilgrims would be limited this year.
Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Benten said that the decision to limit numbers “aims to protect people above everything else, which has been the priority of the Kingdom since the start of the pandemic.”
The long list of protocols affects all workers and pilgrims this year. From July 19, authorities will prohibit all entry into Mina, Muzdalifa, and Arafat without permits.
Guides and awareness signs must be placed in all areas and written in various languages that include COVID-19 infection warnings, hand washing protocols, sneezing and coughing etiquette, and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Organizers must distribute pilgrims in the Tawaf area around the Kaaba to decrease overcrowding while adhering to a 1.5-meter distance between each person. Organizers at the Holy Mosque must ensure that pilgrims are distributed on all floors of the Saee (ritual walking between Safa and Marwa) and place track lines to maintain social distancing while ensuring that the grounds around the Kaaba and Saee are sanitized by cleaning crews before and after each group performing Tawaf.
Touching the Holy Kaaba and Black Stone will be prohibited, barriers will be set to prevent reaching the sites and the mosque’s carpets are to be removed to allow pilgrims to use their personal prayer rugs instead to decrease the chances of the spread of any infection.
Food will not be permitted in the mosque nor will it be allowed on the mosque’s grounds.
All personnel, guides, pilgrims and workers’ temperatures must be checked throughout the pilgrimage; protective face masks and gear must be worn at all times. Floor signs must be placed in locations such as baggage claim areas, restaurants and bus stops with a meter-and-a-half distance between each floor sign.
Concerning the protocols for Arafat and Muzdalifa, pilgrims must adhere to social distancing at all times, wear masks and organizers must ensure that no more than 10 pilgrims are located in a tent of 50 square meters, ensuring a 1.5-meter distance between each pilgrim. Pilgrims must adhere to designated tracks and organizers must be vigilant and ensure that all pilgrims stay in line while adhering to social distancing rules.
Organizers must assemble no more than 50 pilgrims heading to the Jamarat (stone pillars) per group and disinfected and packaged pebbles will be provided for pilgrims as well.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Organizers must distribute pilgrims in the Tawaf area around the Kaaba to decrease overcrowding.

• Food will not be permitted in the mosque nor will it be allowed on the mosque’s grounds.

• Touching the Holy Kaaba and Black Stone will be prohibited. Organizers must assemble no more than 50 pilgrims heading to the Jamarat (stone pillars) per group.

Those suspected of carrying the infection will be allowed to perform their pilgrimage only after being evaluated and cleared by a physician. They will be allocated into specific groups of suspected cases, placed in designated accommodation, and in buses with designated tracks to accommodate their condition.
Weqaya’s protocols also advised that no personnel are allowed to work if they contract flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, a sore throat, or sudden loss of the sense of smell or taste) until symptoms disappear and are cleared by a physician.
Disinfecting and sanitization rounds must be scheduled and organized to ensure that surfaces such as door handles and tables in reception areas, public seating areas, and waiting areas are cleaned around the clock.
Sanitizers must be placed next to ATMs, touch-screen guides, and vending machines while all printed magazines and newspapers must be removed to decrease the possibility of transmission.
Workers at pilgrims’ accommodation must always wear face masks. Guests must wear masks when leaving their rooms and workers must disinfect and sanitize all luggage on arrival.
Weqaya also laid out protocols to decrease the rate of transmission at restaurants and rest stops. Water coolers must be discontinued in the Grand Mosque and holy sites and individual bottled Zamzam water will be available and distributed to pilgrims at all times.
Individual pre-packaged meals and food will be served to pilgrims. Workers distributing the meals must follow strict protocols that include washing hands for no less than 40 seconds using soap and water throughout their shifts and where they are not able to access these, alcohol-based sanitizers must be used instead for no less than 20 seconds.