COVID-19 exit strategy within public’s hands, say Saudi Interior Ministry

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Saudi health authorities are appealing for full public support and cooperation for the Kingdom to be able to fully stop the spread of Covid-19 in the Kingdom. (SPA)
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Saudi health authorities are appealing for full public support and cooperation for the Kingdom to be able to fully stop the spread of Covid-19 in the Kingdom. (SPA)
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Updated 08 February 2021

COVID-19 exit strategy within public’s hands, say Saudi Interior Ministry

  • Kingdom’s daily count increased by nearly 300 percent

JEDDAH: Stricter measures could be enforced in Saudi Arabia if and when needed, a Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman said, adding: “The decision is in the hands of the public.”

In a joint press conference between the MoI and the Ministry of Health (MoH), the MoI’s spokesman, Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, said the authorities are continuously monitoring the situation and public adherence to protocols. 

A 70 percent increase in violations was reported in the past week alone, said the MoI spokesman. He added that the increase is a clear disregard to the rules and regulations set by the relevant authorities from the beginning of the pandemic last March. 

“All violators were dealt with and have taken the necessary statutory measures against them,” assured Al-Shalhoub. 

He added that anyone who shares rumors and false information regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through social media platforms will be fined up to SR1 million ($266,000), adding that violators could also face jail sentences between one and five years.

During the same press conference, MoH spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly noted that the public’s lack of adherence to precautionary measures led to the closures and restrictions that were issued last week.

“We’ve sacrificed a lot and made good progress to get to this point in time,” said Al-Abd Al-Aly, adding: “It’s true that we’re recording increasing numbers but there’s still hope yet.”

Along with the Kingdom, the spokesman noted a significant rise in cases in the wider region, with some countries reactivating stricter measures such as travel bans, curfews, and halting dine-in services to combat the spread.

The spokesman also noted that the Kingdom is taking extra precautions following the concerns over the three major COVID-19 variants. 

The British, South African and Brazilian variants are being monitored by the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control to provide updates on their gene sequences.

Saudi Arabia reported 317 new cases on Sunday, raising the total number of cases in the Kingdom to 370,278.

“Regarding the daily confirmed cases, the curve is on a rise again, close to 300 percent from the numbers that were recorded in January,” said Al-Abd Al-Aly, adding: “We’re closely, carefully, worriedly and continuously monitoring the numbers.”

The spokesman added that the direction of the curve can go either way. Stricter measures might be applied if the daily count continues to rise due to the noncompliance, but rules could be relaxed if the public continues to adhere to them.

According to the figures, 80 percent of the rise in numbers in the past few weeks were due to weddings, crowded public and family gatherings, and people going to restaurants without taking precautionary measures.

There are currently 2,361 active cases, of which 408 are in critical care. There were seven new critical care patients in the past 24 hours, with the Kingdom enduring a 35 percent increase in critically ill patients since January.

The number of new recoveries reported was 278, raising the total number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 to 361,515.

Five new deaths due to COVID-19 complications were also reported, raising the total number of mortalities to 6,402.

The Kingdom vs. COVID-19
How Saudi Arabia acted swiftly and coordinated a global response to fight the coronavirus, preventing a far worse crisis at home and around the world

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Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

Updated 34 min 46 sec ago

Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

A royal order has recently approved Nabil Khojah as the secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority.

Khojah received a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the College of Industrial Management of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in 1996.

Nearly three years ago, he attended a leadership program designed for senior executives, Harvard Business School (HBS).

Khojah, who has served as CEO of Mosanada Logistics Services since 2019, brings extensive experience in the logistics industry to his role.

For four years beginning in 2008, he worked as the managing director at Exel, a joint venture business between DHL and Al-Olayan Group, a multinational enterprise with an actively managed portfolio of global investments.

Between 2012 and 2018, he served as the chief executive officer of Saudia Cargo, one of the Middle East’s leading air cargo carrier and cargo ground handling companies. His responsibilities included reporting to the company’s board of directors and overseeing a business with an extensive global network.

He has also held leadership positions with Unilever KSA and the Royal Saudi Air Force, among others.

From 2001 to 2003, he worked for Unilever, where he occupied a series of more senior positions, including manager of business systems, manager of the supply chain and logistics department, and manager of market demand planning. For three years beginning in 2003, he served as the regional manager for logistics and imported products in Dubai.

Khojah then moved to DHL as the general manager for transport and logistics, later becoming general manager of the company at its headquarters in Saudi Arabia.


More countries condemn Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia

Updated 28 February 2021

More countries condemn Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia

  • The Houthis in Yemen launched six drones at the south of the Kingdom, all of which were shot down
  • The coalition also intercepted a ballistic missile targeting Riyadh

LONDON: Jordan, the UK, the EU and Qatar joined the widespread global condemnation of attacks by an Iran-backed militia on Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis in Yemen launched six drones at the south of the Kingdom, all of which were shot down by the Arab coalition.
The coalition also intercepted a ballistic missile targeting Riyadh.
“The UK condemns the latest Houthi missile and drone attacks targeted at Saudi Arabia and Marib,” foreign minister Dominic Raab said. “These put innocent lives at risk, and show that those responsible are not serious about peace, let alone protecting the Yemeni people.”


Jordan also condemned the “continued targeting of cities in Saudi Arabia” by the Houthis.
Jordan “condemns these cowardly terrorist acts and the targeting of innocent civilians which constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” a foreign ministry statement said.
The statement said that Jordan stands with the Kingdom in the face of anything that “threatens its safety or the safety of the Saudi people.”
Qatar strongly condemned the Houthi ballistic missile attack that targeted Riyadh and said it was “a dangerous act against civilians which contravenes all international norms and laws.”
In a statement, Qatar’s foreign ministry reiterated the state’s firm position on rejecting violence, criminal and subversive acts regardless of the motives behind them.


The EU’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman also condemned the attacks against the Kingdom.
“Such attacks which are endangering civilians, increasing regional instability and delaying the prospect of a solution to the Yemen conflict must stop,” Patrick Simonnet said.


Pakistan PM’s special adviser denies findings of US intelligence report on Khashoggi

Updated 28 February 2021

Pakistan PM’s special adviser denies findings of US intelligence report on Khashoggi

  • Pakistan in “solidarity” with Saudi Arabia to bring Khashoggi killers to justice
  • Kingdom took all measures to convict people responsible for the crime, Foreign Office says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special adviser on religious harmony and the Middle East has denied the findings of a US intelligence report containing an “assessment” of the Jamal Khashoggi murder case, calling it “baseless.”
Saudi journalist Khashoggi was murdered in October 2018 at the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to complete paperwork related to his divorce.
“The Saudi government fulfilled the requirements of justice, and propaganda against the Kingdom’s leadership is baseless,” Tahir Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC), said during a convention in Lahore on Saturday.
He expressed solidarity with the Kingdom, adding that ties between the two countries “are strong and permanent, and nothing can dent the relationship.
“There has been a negative campaign against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since day one, but he laid down the foundations for polices of moderation in Saudi Arabia, and his Vision 2030 is for the development of the Kingdom and the entire Arab World,” Ashrafi said.
The Foreign Office of Pakistan on Saturday also expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia after the release of the report, saying that Islamabad recognized the Kingdom’s efforts to bring Khashoggi’s killers to justice.
In an official statement issued in Islamabad, the Foreign Office noted that the Saudi authorities had described the killing as an “abhorrent crime” and a “flagrant violation” of the Kingdom’s laws and values.
“The Saudi government has further underlined that it took all possible measures within its legal system to ensure that the individuals responsible were properly investigated, convicted and sentenced, and that justice was served,” the statement continued.
“Pakistan underscores adherence to the rule of law, respect for national sovereignty, and protection and promotion of human rights by all states, in accordance with their respective constitutional frameworks and international obligations,” it added.
Saudi Arabia has already rebuffed the contents of the report, saying that it “completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions.”
The Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry noted that people responsible for the killing had been convicted and sentenced in Saudi courts, and that “these sentences were welcomed by the family of Jamal Khashoggi.”


Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated 28 February 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 368,305
  • A total of 6,494 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced six deaths from COVID-19 and 322 new infections on Sunday.
Of the new cases, 167 were recorded in Riyadh, 66 in the Eastern Province, 37 in Makkah, eight in Asir, eight in Najran, five in Madinah, five in Jazan and four in Hail.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 368,305 after 294 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,494 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.


Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’

Updated 28 February 2021

Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’

  • Eye-catching traditional pieces that women wear on key occasions highlight the Kingdom’s diverse heritage

MAKKAH: With Saudi Arabia’s diverse and colorful cultural traditions, fashion serves as a medium where foreigners and citizens can meet.
Fashion has always been an important part of how people define themselves and others, and Saudi Arabia’s traditional clothing is no different.
Those who watched the Saudi Cup horse race coverage would have noticed that many racegoers, including foreigners living in the Kingdom, donned eye-catching pieces from the Kingdom’s regions, while others made sure they showed off traditional fashion items.
For almost 12 years, Brandi Janow has made Saudi Arabia her home. Janow, who calls herself an “American Saudi,” caught the eye of photographers at the Saudi Cup with her striking red hair and gold coin headpiece while wearing a farwa (heavy overcoat) featuring a Sadu piece, or traditional embroidery of the region, on her coat lapels.
Janow told Arab News that she felt welcome and comfortable since moving to the Kingdom, and dressed according to the traditions of the land.
“The fashion scene was remarkable at the Saudi Cup. I am going to dub it the ‘Met Gala’ of Saudi Arabia in future. Saudi Arabia has such an old fashion heritage, so it was wonderful to be able to take a trip through history and to tell the world a story,” she said.

Saudi Arabia has changed immensely since 2009, and that is something I have appreciated witnessing.

Brandi Janow

“As a history lover, this is probably one of the best places that I can be to see so many remarkable sights with my own eyes,” she added.
Celebrating Saudi Arabia’s heritage, fashionable guests appeared in pieces that highlighted the Kingdom’s diverse heritage, including intricately embroidered daglahs for men and the heavily embellished zaboon worn by the women of Hijaz.
Janow calls Saudi Arabia her home and is “happy my journey brought me here.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• For almost 12 years, Brandi Janow has made Saudi Arabia her home. Janow, who calls herself an ‘American Saudi,’ caught the eye of photographers at the Saudi Cup with her striking red hair and gold coin headpiece while wearing a farwa (heavy overcoat) featuring a Sadu piece, or traditional embroidery of the region, on her coat lapels. 

• Janow told Arab News that she felt welcome and comfortable since moving to the Kingdom, and dressed according to the traditions of the land. She calls Saudi Arabia her home and is ‘happy my journey brought me here.’

The private sector worker is also the program director for art, culture, media and entertainment at the American Chamber of Commerce in the Kingdom and also manages Smuug, a small business where she designs and sells products based on her illustrations.
“Before I came to Saudi Arabia I had never traveled outside North America, so I was quite excited to see a new place. I cannot say that I ever experienced culture shock, but I was in awe of how different the country was from my own. It is really beautiful how big the world is, and how different (and the same) we all are,” she said.
“Saudi Arabia has changed immensely since 2009, and that is something I have appreciated witnessing. I really think that humanity cannot prosper without change, growth and evolution.
“This is the natural way of life. As someone who works in the creative industry, it has been such a pleasure to watch the blossoming of talent,” said Janow.