Saudi Interior Ministry warns against large social gatherings

The Health Ministry said everyone should create an online account on the Sehhaty app to get the vaccine. (SPA)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Saudi Interior Ministry warns against large social gatherings

  • Health officials report 175 new coronavirus cases, 156 recoveries, 4 deaths

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Interior renewed its warning against social gatherings and reminded people of the penalties against gatherings of more than 50 individuals as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The ministry uploaded an infographic to Twitter stating: “Gatherings for social purposes such as funerals, parties and the like, for more than 50 people violate preventive measures against COVID-19.”
The infographic reconfirmed that the initial penalty for an establishment or person who instigated the violation is a SR40,000 ($10,600) fine, while anyone in attendance or causing the crowding will pay SR5,000.
If there is a second violation, the penalty will be doubled to SR80,000. Those who are in attendance or instigating the event will pay up to SR10,000.
For a third violation, the penalty is doubled and they will be referred to the public prosecution.
If the violating institute is in the private sector — and a repeating offender — it will be closed for three months. In a second incident, the establishment will be closed for six months. The ministry urges those who witness any violations to call 911 for those in Makkah and Riyadh, and 999 for other regions.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said everyone should create an online account on the Sehhaty app to get the vaccine. It added that family members cannot get appointments for each other.
“An independent account is created for the wife and other beneficiaries in the Sehhaty app, except for children who are under 18, who can be affiliated with the head of the family,” the ministry tweeted.
Meanwhile, a source in the Interior Ministry said citizens were being warned against traveling to a number of countries without obtaining prior permission.
This comes following the statement on Jan. 8 allowing citizens to travel outside the Kingdom starting from March 31.
The list of countries includes Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus and any other countries in which the pandemic has not yet been controlled or the spread of the mutated strain of the virus has been evident.
The ministry said Saudi citizens who are in these countries or expecting to travel to them should urgently register at an embassy.
It also called on citizens wishing to travel to the permitted countries to exercise caution and stay away from busy areas, and to follow all precautionary measures.
Saudi Arabia has reported four new COVID-19-related deaths. The death toll now stands at 6,304.
A total of 175 new cases were reported, meaning 364,271 people have now contracted the disease. There are 1,954 active cases, 307 of them are in a critical condition.
In addition, 156 new patients had recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 356,013.

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Saudi women making their mark in science

Updated 19 January 2021

Saudi women making their mark in science

JEDDAH: Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.
Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.
In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.
Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.
Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.
Suha Kayum
Research engineer

With a career spanning 10 years, Kayum — a research engineer with Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center — was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramco’s reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.
Kayum was a developer for the company’s in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf Ahmed
Lab scientist

With a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmed’s main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.
She later joined the company’s Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramco’s Research and Development Center.
Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham Abuljadayel
Immunologist

In what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.
A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.
Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.
Dr. Abeer Al-Olayan
Petroleum scientist

With an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.
As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed Althagafi
Physician-scientist

Diagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.
Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.
She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-Johani
Scientist of physical chemistry

Her research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.
Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-Numair
Molecular bioinformatics scientist
Dubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.
She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.
Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.
Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.