Over 178,000 people receive covid vaccines across Saudi Arabia

Arab News
January 11, 2021

Jeddah, Jan 11: The Saudi Health Ministry has said that its vaccination campaign is key to achieving herd immunity after it revealed that more than 178,000 of the Kingdom’s residents have received a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) jab.

“We aim to provide the vaccine to all and build herd immunity in Saudi Arabia,” said Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly. “We believe that this is the most powerful way to achieve herd immunity, which in return will provide optimum protection from the virus.”

As a testament to the success of precautionary measures, the number of confirmed cases in the Kingdom has steadily declined since peaking in mid-June last year.

In a press conference on Sunday, the ministry spokesman said that indicators have shown a 97.6 percent decrease in cases since the peak. “This reflects the level of control Saudi Arabia has on the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

The ministry reported 117 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic in March last year to 363,809.

The number of active cases has dropped below the 2,000 case mark, with 1,970 active cases, 309 of which are in critical care units — an 86.6 percent decrease since a peak during last summer.

Only three of the Kingdom’s 13 regions recorded case numbers in the double digits. Riyadh led with 47, while Makkah and the Eastern Province both recorded 22 cases each. Najran and Al-Jouf reported one case each.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths in the Kingdom has also fallen. With Sunday’s five fatalities, Dr. Al-Abd Al-Aly said that there has been a 91.4 percent decline since the peak mortality rate seen last summer.

There were 166 new recoveries reported, raising the total number of recoveries to 355,548. The Kingdom’s recovery rate remains steady at 97.7 percent.

The spokesman said that the recovery rate rose dramatically following the Kingdom’s battle to detect the disease early and provide patients with top healthcare.

More than 11.3 million polymerase chain reaction tests have been conducted in the Kingdom since the beginning of the pandemic, including 28,324 completed over the past 24 hours.

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Agencies
January 14,2021

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Riyadh, Jan 14: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom offers investment opportunities worth $6 trillion over the next decade, with new projects representing half of this value, the state news agency reported, citing his speech at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

The opportunities are part of the young prince's Vision 2030, aimed at ending the kingdom’s dependence on oil and transforming it into a global investment power.

The prince, known in the West as MbS, plans to create new sectors and develop domestic projects that would create jobs for millions of Saudis, through the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom's sovereign investment fund that acts as the main vehicle boosting investments at home and abroad.

PIF will finance 85% of these opportunities along with the Saudi private sector, while the remaining financing will come from capital investments from investors in the Gulf and globally, Saudi Press Agency said, quoting the prince's speech.

The PIF is the cornerstone investor in a number of mega projects including a high-tech economic zone dubbed NEOM planned for an area close to the size of Belgium, an entertainment park outside Riyadh called Qiddiya being built on a site 2-1/2 times larger than Disney World, and a luxury tourist resort off the Red Sea coast that will span 50 islands.

This week, Prince Mohammed unveiled plans to build a zero-carbon city at NEOM, with infrastructure costs of $100 billion to $200 billion.

The world’s top oil exporter is expected to borrow tens of billions of dollars this year to fill state coffers hit by lower oil prices and to boost liquidity at the PIF.

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January 10,2021

Sydney, Jan 10: Australia were 312/6 at tea on the fourth day of the third Test against India, extending their overall lead to 406 runs on Sunday.

Play was halted for a few minutes on the fourth day after the visiting players complained of abuse from the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground here on Sunday.

It was a day after a drunk spectator at the SCG allegedly directed racial abuse at Indian players Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. The BCCI has lodged a complaint with the ICC.

During the second session of the fourth day on Sunday, India players huddled in the centre after Siraj, standing at the square leg boundary, complained of abuse after being hit for two consecutive sixes by Cameron Green in his over.

However, play resumed after some spectators are asked to leave following complaints of abuse.

Six people were removed from the stands after Mohammed Siraj alerted the umpires and his team-mates to further abuse from the crowd following day three's allegations of racial abuse directed at India players.

Tim Paine was batting on 39, while all-rounder Cameron Green was dismissed just before the break at 84.

Brief scores:
India 1st Innings: 244 all out
Australia: 338 and 312/6 in 87 overs 

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Agencies
January 20,2021

Jammu and Kashmir, Jan 20: Three infiltrators were reportedly killed and four army soldiers injured overnight on the line of control (LoC) in J&K's Jammu district where the army foiled an infiltration bid, officials said on Wednesday.

Defence sources said Pakistan Army started heavy shelling in Khour area of LoC's Akhnoor sector on Tuesday evening to facilitate infiltration of terrorists.

"Four army soldiers were injured in Pakistani shelling and three terrorists were killed in Indian retaliatory action while the infiltration bid was foiled.

"The bodies of the slain terrorists are lying on Pakistan side of the LoC and these have not been so far picked up by Pakistani troops," a source said.

This is the first major ceasefire violation by Pakistan on the LoC in 2021.

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