Around 10,000 health workers in Iran infected with coronavirus

News Network
May 21,2020

Dubai, May 21: Around 10,000 Iranian health workers have been infected with the new coronavirus, the semi-official ILNA news agency quoted a deputy health minister as saying on Thursday.

Health services are stretched thin in Iran, the Middle East country hardest hit by the respiratory pandemic, with 7,249 deaths and a total of 129,341 infections. The Health Ministry said in April that over 100 health workers had died of COVID-19.

No more details on infections among health workers were immediately available.

Earlier on Thursday, Health Minister Saeed Namaki appealed to Iranians to avoid travelling during the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday later this month to avoid the risk of a new surge of coronavirus infections, state TV reported.

Iranians often travel to different cities around the country to mark the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, something Namaki said could lead to a disregard of social distancing rules and a fresh outbreak of COVID-19.

"I am urging you not to travel during the Eid. Definitely, such trips mean new cases of infection...People should not travel to and from those high-risk red areas," Namaki was quoted by state television as saying.

"Some 90% of the population in many areas has not yet contracted the disease. In the case of a new outbreak, it will be very difficult for me and my colleagues to control it."

A report by parliament's research centre suggested that the actual tally of infections and deaths in Iran might be almost twice that announced by the health ministry.

However, worried that measures to limit public activities could wreck an economy which has already been battered by U.S. sanctions, the government has been easing most restrictions on normal life in late April.

Infected cases have been on a rising trajectory for the past two weeks. However, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran was close to curbing the outbreak.

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Kuwait allows international travel from Aug 1; residents from these countries excluded

Agencies
July 30,2020

kuwait.jpg

Kuwait will allow citizens and residents to travel to and from the country, starting August 1, the government communication center tweeted on early Thursday, citing a cabinet decision.

The decision excludes residents coming from Bangladesh, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, Nepal.

Last month, Kuwait announced it would partially resume commercial flights from August, but does not expect to reach full capacity until a year later, as its aviation sector gradually recovers from a suspension sparked by the Covid-19 crisis.

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Hajj 2020: Officials outline health, security measures

Agencies
July 16,2020

Riyadh, Jul 16: Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, minister of interior and chairman of the Hajj Supreme Committee, chaired a virtual meeting on Wednesday with the heads of  security agencies and officials in charge of this year’s Hajj season.

During the meeting, the minister and security officials discussed organizational issues related to Hajj, including preventive and precautionary steps related to fighting the coronavirus disease, procedures related to pilgrims commuting to the holy sites, and mechanisms to facilitate performing the Hajj rituals.

Prince Abdul Aziz confirmed abiding by the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to take all precautions to preserve the safety of the pilgrims, and facilitate their performance of their Hajj rituals, according to the highest health standards to contain the new coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi Arabia has decided to allow only a limited number of domestic pilgrims to perform Hajj this year in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Only those expatriates between the ages of 20 and 50 who are not suffering from any chronic diseases can apply for the pilgrimage.

Earlier, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that requests from people of 160 nationalities in the Kingdom have been screened electronically to select who will perform Hajj this year.

Of the pilgrims who will receive approval, 70 percent will be non-Saudis residing in the Kingdom and the remaining 30 percent will be Saudi citizens.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior said that anyone found entering the sites of Hajj (Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat) without a permit from July 18 till the end of Dhu Al-Hijjah 12 will be issued with a fine of SR10,000 ($2,600).

The fine will be doubled if the offence is repeated. Security personnel will be posted on roads leading to the holy sites to ensure that anyone who breaks the law will be stopped and fined.

Around 2.5 million foreign and domestic pilgrims performed Hajj last year.

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Makkah welcomes domestic Hajj pilgrims amidst pandemic

Agencies
July 26,2020

Jeddah, Jul 26: The city of Makkah is opening its arms again to welcome pilgrims for the annual Hajj — although only a handful compared with previous years.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event is limited to about 1,000 pilgrims, all from inside Saudi Arabia, about 700 of whom are expatriates.

Abdullah Al-Kathiri, an Emirati and a recovered COVID-19 patient, postponed his pilgrimage last year because it coincided with his wedding plans. “I’ve heard from many who’ve performed the pilgrimage in past years that it was always a smooth process, even with the massive numbers,” he said. “So you could imagine how it would be with the limited number of pilgrims this year. Surely it will be a great experience.”

Khadija, a Bulgarian expatriate, was overcome with tears when she heard she would be performing Hajj this year. “I didn’t expect they’d accept,” she said. “I’m sure this year’s Hajj will be an exceptional one in all respects.”

Dr. Haifa Yousef Hamdoon, a Tunisian physician in Qassim, is another who did not expect to be accepted because of the low numbers this year. “When I received confirmation of my request, I was overjoyed and couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Mu’taz Mohamed, a Sudanese pilgrim who also lives in Qassim region, praised the preventive and precautionary health measures taken in order to ensure his safety and that of other pilgrims, to enable them to perform the rituals safely.

After completing their arrival procedures, the pilgrims were taken to their accommodation in Makkah, supervised by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. They will stay there for four days before beginning their pilgrimage on July 30.

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