Makkah mayor chairs virtual meeting to discuss plans for Hajj season

Makkah Mayor Mohammed Abdullah Al-Quwaihis chairs a virtual meeting on Sunday to discuss plans for this year’s Hajj season. (SPA)
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Updated 06 July 2020

Makkah mayor chairs virtual meeting to discuss plans for Hajj season

  • Saudi Arabia’s decision to limit this year’s Hajj to worshippers residing in the Kingdom has received support from various countries

MAKKAH: Makkah Mayor Mohammed Abdullah Al-Quwaihis chaired a virtual meeting on Sunday to discuss plans for this year’s Hajj season.

Undersecretaries and directors general of Makkah Municipality joined the meeting via videoconferencing.  

They discussed the arrangements for the Hajj season including a plan of action for field service centers.

The mayor pointed out that this year’s Hajj will be safe as all necessary preemptive and precautionary measures will be taken to protect pilgrims from contracting COVID-19. 

Al-Quwaihis stressed the importance of being aware of the responsibilities bestowed on everyone to achieve the best services for pilgrims. 

He said Saudi Arabia, under the guidance of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had mobilized all human and financial resources for the pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia’s decision to limit this year’s Hajj to worshippers residing in the Kingdom has received support from various countries.

The Arab League welcomed Saudi Arabia’s announcement and said in a statement that the wise decision came to preserve the health and safety of worshippers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The UAE Hajj Affairs (HAO) said it will not take part in this year’s Hajj season. 

The Egyptian Minister of Endowments and Al-Azhar have also welcomed the decision, as well as the ambassador of Djibouti to the Kingdom Dya-Eddine Bamakhrama. 

Bahrain commended the Kingdom’s efforts to assist pilgrims and care for their health in order to enable them to perform the pilgrimage safely, state news agency.


Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Updated 16 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

  • It will go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority

RIYADH: Preclinical studies on the first Saudi vaccine against COVID-19 have been completed.

Professor of epidemiology Dr. Iman Almansour, who heads the team of researchers working on the vaccine at the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC), affiliated with Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), confirmed to Arab News on Friday that the studies were complete, and said clinical trials would begin as soon as “the proper approvals” had been given.

She did not specify when that is expected to happen.

The Ministry of Education is financing the team’s project. The team’s research paper has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmaceuticals.

The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen.

Dr. Iman Almansour, professor of epidemiology

According to the published paper, the vaccine has so far proven effective, when used on animals, in eliciting antibodies that will target the virus. “The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen,” Dr. Almansour explained.

Dr. Turki Almugaiteeb, director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at RPD Innovations, which runs the National Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Center, told Arab News: “There is a great focus on the results of medical research because of the pandemic. Research can play a great role in developing a vaccine that can be adopted and further developed in the future. We can say that the Kingdom has a strong infrastructure, which can help produce and manufacture a national vaccine.”

Both Almugaiteeb and Almansour stressed that the experimental vaccine will need to go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

Prof. Nasser Al-Aqeeli, the deputy minister of education for research and innovation, said the ministry supported programs at the Kingdom’s universities with more than SR500 million ($133.3 million) in 2020.