UAE provides over 708 tons of medical aid to 62 countries to combat COVID-19

News Network
June 5, 2020

New Delhi, Jun 5: As part of global efforts to combat COVID-19, the UAE has provided more than 708 tonnes of medical aid, personal protection kits and supplies to 62 countries, including India, with direct beneficiaries exceeding 708,000 health workers, a UAE Embassy statement said.

The UAE is regarded as the main lifeline for the logistic operations of the international organizations' strategic warehouses in Dubai's International Humanitarian City (IHC) where the UAE is the first responder to the global crises, especially in providing assistance in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic, it said.

Dubai's IHC has dispatched more than 132 shipments to 98 countries around the world so far since the beginning of this year, and is working as a central hub to distribute the personal protection kits, the statement said.

While the UAE continues its constant work of supporting the global efforts aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 disease, it has provided more than 708 tons of medical aid, personal protection kits and supplies to 62 countries worldwide to date, with direct beneficiaries exceeding 708,000 health workers, it said.

In addition, 65 million indirect beneficiaries profited from the UAE's global efforts in combating the spread of the virus, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Etihad Airways, effective June 10, said it will link 20 cities in Europe, Asia and Australia via Abu Dhabi.

The new transfer services will make it possible for those travelling on the airline's current network of special flights to connect easily through the UAE capital onwards to key global destinations.

Etihad recently launched links from Melbourne and Sydney to London Heathrow, allowing direct transfer connections to and from the UK capital via Abu Dhabi.

Easy transfer connections via Abu Dhabi will now be available from Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo to major cities across Europe including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, London Heathrow, Madrid, Milan, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Zurich, the airline said.

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News Network
September 23,2020

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Jeddah, Sept 23: Saudi Arabia has announced the gradual resumption of Umrah and visits to the Two Holy Mosques with a limited number of pilgrims, starting from Oct. 4, 2020, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday citing a source at the Ministry of Interior.

The ministry source said that based on the reports of the competent authorities regarding coronavirus developments and in response to the aspirations of many Muslims at home and abroad to perform Umrah, and based on the leadership's keenness on the health and safety of the visitors the Two Holy Mosques, a royal approval has been given to allow the performance of Umrah and visits to the Two Holy Mosques gradually while taking the necessary health preventative measures.

In the first phase, citizens and expatriates from within the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah at a capacity of 30 percent from Oct. 4 that translates to 6,000 pilgrims per day following the health precautionary measures of the Grand Mosque.

In the second phase, citizens and expatriates inside the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah, visit the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and pray in Two Holy Mosques, starting from Oct. 18, with a 75 percent capacity limit that is equivalent of nearly 15,000 pilgrims per day and 40,000 worshippers per day following the health precautionary measures for the Grand Mosque, as well as 75 percent of the capacity in line with the health precautionary measures for the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque.

In the third phase, pilgrims from abroad would be allowed to perform Umrah as of Nov. 1 with a full capacity of 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 worshipers per day and it will continue until the official end of the coronavirus pandemic or the official announcement that the danger is over. The arrival of Umrah performers and visitors from outside the Kingdom shall be gradual from the countries that are free from health risks related to the coronavirus pandemic, the source added.

The fourth phase will allow the performance of Umrah, visit and prayers by citizens and expatriates from inside and outside the Kingdom, at 100 percent of the normal capacity of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque, when the competent authority decides that the risks of the pandemic has disappeared.

Meanwhile, the entry of pilgrims, worshipers and visitors shall be regulated through the application (Etamarna), which will be launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, with the aim of implementing the health standards and controls approved by the Ministry of Health and the competent authorities.

The source called upon pilgrims, worshipers and visitors to adhere to preventive measures and apply the health instructions and requirements, including wearing face masks, keeping a safe distance, and avoiding a physical contact.

The source affirmed the Kingdom's keenness to enable the pilgrims from inside and outside the Kingdom to perform the rituals in a safe and healthy manner fulfilling the preventative requirements and spatial distancing in order to ensure human safety and protection from the threats of this pandemic, and achieve the objectives of the Islamic law in preserving human lives.

The source explained that the stages announced in this statement will be subjected to continuous evaluation, according to the developments of the pandemic.

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News Network
September 16,2020

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Tbilisi, Sept 16: The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has approved the setting up of a regional office in Riyadh to support the growth of the Middle East’s tourism sector as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the UNWTO’s Executive Council members have approved the move to establish the office during a session in Georgia. The office will cover 13 countries within the region, and will serve as a platform to build long-term growth in the travel and tourism sector of the Middle East.

“International cooperation and the role of the UNWTO are more important than ever. I am therefore very excited that Saudi Arabia will become home to the first ever UNWTO Regional Office, which aims to support growth at a national and regional level,” Al-Khateeb said.

“In Saudi Arabia, we are very aware of the transformative power of tourism on the economy and people. We may still be a young destination, but tourism is at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future,” he added.

Recently, Al-Khateeb revealed that the Council of Ministers has given the Ministry of Tourism the go ahead to open a regional office of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Riyadh as well as to establish a global academy for tourism training.

Al-Khateeb pointed out that the ministry, in cooperation with UNWTO, would work to lay the foundations and standards that enable the proposed academy to be among the best tourism academies in the world.

It is noteworthy that that the UNWTO secretary general praised the Saudi Summer season during a recent visit to the Kingdom during which he toured a number of Saudi summer destinations. Al-Khateeb hoped that the Kingdom, together with UNWTO, would launch a set of initiatives to develop the tourism sector in the region.

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Agencies
September 29,2020

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Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait passed away on today in a hospital in the United States. He was 91.

Born in 1929, Sheikh Sabah is widely regarded as the architect of modern Kuwait’s foreign policy – having served as foreign minister for nearly 40 years between 1963 and 2003 – when he became prime minister.

He became Kuwait’s emir in January 2006 after the death of Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah.

In August 2019, Kuwait acknowledged Sheikh Sabah suffered an unspecified medical “setback” that required he be admitted to hospital.

In July 2020, he flew to the United States seeking medical attention after undergoing surgery. A US Air Force C-17 flying hospital transported Sheikh Sabah from Kuwait to Rochester, Minnesota, home of the flagship campus of the Mayo Clinic.

The emir had his appendix removed in 2002, two years after having a pacemaker fitted. In 2007, he underwent urinary tract surgery in the United States.

When the emir was absent in the past, 83-year-old Crown Prince Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir’s half-brother, was appointed acting ruler as per the country’s constitutional law. Sheikh Nawaf is an elder statesman who has held high office for decades, including the defence and interior portfolios.

Sheikh Sabah had pushed for diplomacy to solve regional issues, such as the continuing boycott of Qatar by four Arab nations, and he hosted major donor conferences for war-torn nations such as Iraq and Syria.

Kuwait television earlier interrupted regular programming to cut to Quaranic verses on Tuesday, a move that often signifies the death of a senior member of the Gulf Arab state’s ruling family.

His death comes as the nation continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 103,981 people and caused 605 related deaths in the country of 4.1 million. Its health ministry said more than 95,500 people have recovered from COVID-19.

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