Roof of Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah reopens to worshippers

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Worshippers can now perform certain prayers on the roof of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. (SPA)
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Worshippers can now perform certain prayers on the roof of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. (SPA)
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Worshippers can now perform certain prayers on the roof of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. (SPA)
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Updated 01 January 2021

Roof of Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah reopens to worshippers

  • The roof of the Prophet’s Mosque can accommodate around 10,000 worshippers
  • A number of entrances have been equipped with thermal cameras and personnel to enable safe access

LONDON: Worshippers can now perform certain prayers on the roof of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, the mosque’s general presidency said on Thursday.
Worshippers are now able to perform Fajr, Maghrib, Isha and Friday prayers on the roof whilst observing preventative measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The roof of the Prophet’s Mosque can accommodate around 10,000 worshippers and a number of entrances have been equipped with thermal cameras and personnel to enable safe access.
Those wishing to perform their prayers on the roof can access it through entrances 5, 8, 21, 34 and 37.


Saudi nonprofit provides underprivileged families with 1,000 meals a day

The initiative, which kicked off on Feb. 14, was planned to run for 30 days, but could be extended. (Supplied)
Updated 07 March 2021

Saudi nonprofit provides underprivileged families with 1,000 meals a day

  • ‘We intend to do whatever we can to ensure the distribution of food to those in need during pandemic’

RIYADH: A Riyadh charity is distributing 1,000 meals a day to underprivileged families who have been badly affected by the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Founded by Riyadh’s governor, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, the Khairat program helps ensure that low-income families in the Kingdom’s capital have access to two full, healthy, and balanced meals a day, taking care of not only the cooking process, but also the distribution to those in need.
Abdullah Al-Sebai, the general supervisor of Khairat, told Arab News that the program was initially established in 2018 as a means of collecting leftover food from banquet halls, weddings, and other major events where a surplus tends to be left.


“Our team would collect the leftover food from these events, package it up neatly, and distribute it to families in need,” he said.
However, once the pandemic shut down those large-scale gatherings, the team at Khairat quickly found a solution that would ensure those families would not be left in the lurch.


“With the green light from Prince Faisal, we established a professional relationship with a kitchen belonging to the charity Al-Melwan, who have employed seven Saudi women to cook the necessary meals for distribution,” Al-Sebai added. “Khairat purchased the meals from them and is responsible for the delivery on a daily basis.”
Once the food has been prepared by the team at Al-Melwan’s kitchen, Al-Sebai said that the meals go out twice a day — 500 lunches and 500 dinners, all delivered within half an hour to the families that the charity has had longstanding dealings with.
The initiative, which kicked off on Feb. 14, was planned to run for 30 days, but could be extended.
“We intend to do whatever we can to ensure that these families aren’t in any danger due to the pandemic,” he said.
To maintain their services alongside Al-Melwan’s, the charity also coordinated with a number of restaurants to provide meals, and private entities that have also contributed to their food distribution. Over 27,000 meals were distributed to around 4,500 families in 13 neighborhoods across Riyadh between Feb. 12-28 as a result.
Khairat is accepting donations, both in the form of monetary contributions, and applications from donors such as banquet halls, hotels, and other event-hosting venues, on their website, https://khiyrat.org.sa/en/.

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Who’s Who: Dr. Yasser Al-Aska, director general of the Saudi Patient Safety Center

Updated 06 March 2021

Who’s Who: Dr. Yasser Al-Aska, director general of the Saudi Patient Safety Center

Dr. Yasser Al-Aska has been director general of the Saudi Patient Safety Center (SPSC) since February. The center aims to raise awareness of patient safety and strengthen and improve the culture of best practices in patient safety in all health institutions throughout the Kingdom.

It also conducts research to improve the quality of health facilities, especially with regard to patient safety.
Al-Aska received a bachelor’s degree in medicine from King Saud University (KSU) in 2006. He also obtained an Arab Board of Emergency Medicine certification from the Arab Board of Health Specializations in 2012.
That year, he was also granted the same certification from the Saudi Commission of Health Specialties. From 2017 to 2020, he directed KSU’s Clinical Skills and Simulation Center (KSU-CSSC).
Al-Aska, who has been an emergency medicine assistant professor at KSU since 2016, was also deputy director of KSU-CSSC from 2016 to 2017. Al-Aska also worked as director of the residency training program and postgraduate studies at KSU’s department of emergency medicine.
From 2010 to 2011, he was chief resident at the Saudi Board of Emergency Medicine program, a substantial residency-training program and the largest emergency program in the region.
From 2007 to 2012, he worked as an emergency medicine resident at King Khalid University. For nearly one year beginning in 2013, he served as a fellow at the Lifespan Medical Simulation Center, Rhode Island, US.
From 2013 to 2015, he worked as a teaching fellow of disaster medicine and emergency preparedness at Brown University.
As an academic, Al-Aska’s research and studies focus mainly on current issues in emergency medicine, disaster preparedness and medical simulation. He is dedicated to the improvement of emergency care experience and medical education within his country and beyond.


Saudi Arabia boosts health checks, 382 new coronavirus cases reported

Updated 07 March 2021

Saudi Arabia boosts health checks, 382 new coronavirus cases reported

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 370,300
  • A total of 6,524 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

JEDDAH: Saudi authorities have warned that health inspections will increase ahead of the reopening of restaurants, gyms and cinemas across the Kingdom on Sunday.
The Kingdom reported 382 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, increasing the total number of infections over the course of the pandemic to 379,474.
There are 2,650 active cases, 494 of which are in critical care — a decrease of 15 in the past day.
Around the Kingdom, 183 of the cases were reported in the Riyadh region, 89 in the Eastern Province and 43 in Makkah. Jazan and Najran both reported three cases each.
There were also 378 new recoveries, raising the total recovery count to 370,300. The Kingdom’s recovery rate now stands at 97.58 percent.
Saturday saw five new coronavirus-related deaths. The Kingdom’s death toll is now 6,524.
More than 13.9 million PCR tests have been conducted in the Kingdom, with 48,078 completed in the past 24 hours.

FASTFACTS

379,474 Total cases

370,300 Recoveries

6,524 Deaths

Saudi health clinics set up by the ministry as testing hubs or treatment centers have helped hundreds of thousands of people around the Kingdom since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Among those testing hubs are Taakad (make sure) centers and Tetamman (rest assured) clinics.
Taakad centers provide testing for those who show no or mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while the Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms, such as fever, loss of taste and smell and breathing difficulties.
Appointments to either service can also be made through the ministry’s Sehhaty app.

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Ministry campaign checks COVID-19 measures in Riyadh mosques

Updated 06 March 2021

Ministry campaign checks COVID-19 measures in Riyadh mosques

RIYADH: The Riyadh branch of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance on Friday organized an awareness and monitoring campaign to ensure mosques were implementing COVID-19 precautionary and preventive measures, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The campaign was carried out in cooperation with the General Directorate of Health Affairs in Riyadh and a number of volunteer associations.
Healthcare volunteers and mosque supervisors took part in the campaign. Participants told worshippers to comply with social distancing measures, use their own prayer mats, and wear a face mask at all times.
They also organized the entry and exit of worshippers, in addition to distributing masks and prayer mats among them.
The director general of the ministry’s branch in Riyadh, Ahmed Al-Fares, said the campaign aimed to help raise awareness about COVID-19 prevention methods.
He added that the campaign was in line with the efforts of various state agencies to fight the pandemic and also promote a culture of volunteering among government bodies.

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Who’s Who: Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA senior vice president for customer, financial and digital services

Updated 06 March 2021

Who’s Who: Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA senior vice president for customer, financial and digital services

Muhammad Ali Albakri has been appointed senior vice president for customer, financial and digital services at the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Since January 2017, Albakri held the role of regional vice president for the Africa and Middle East region.

Succeeding Aleks Popovich, Albakri is now responsible for IATA’s financial settlement products and services. He will be expected to process more than $450 billion of industry every year.
His responsibilities also include strengthening IATA’s client and customer activities, along with the company’s digital transformation initiatives for the benefit of the aviation industry.
IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said Popovich left behind a great team with a clear focus on customer service that will continue to drive critical changes under Albakri’s capable leadership.
The company’s website described Albakri as “an agent of change,” who will transform the MENA team to better serve member needs and pioneer the work of IATA’s digital transformation advisory council.
“Albakri is well prepared to guide the development of IATA’s commercial offerings, settlement services and digital leadership,” de Juniac said in a statement. “In normal times, these are critical functions, even more so in the middle of an industry crisis.”
Albakri previously worked for Saudia, the Kingdom’s national flag carrier, and served as its vice president of information technology. From 2009 to 2016, he was in charge of strengthening the company’s technology infrastructure and modernizing its financial practices. Albakri earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in information sciences from the University of Pittsburgh.