The area surrounding our holiest site, the Kaaba has been emptied out on Thursday for sterilization! A shocking sight that we’re not used to seeing but a crucial action against the spread of coronavirus.
The area is currently being sanitized amid the recent coronavirus scares, videos and photos on social media have been going viral since health authorities announced the evacuation and sanitation of the area.
— Shiraz Hassan (@ShirazHassan) March 5, 2020
The area, known as the “Mataf” in Arabic, refers to the open white area around the Kaaba where Haj and Umrah pilgrims perform the “tawaf.”
This follows the Kingdom’s rare and temporary suspension on pilgrimages due to the dangerous spread of the coronavirus, in order to protect citizens especially with the confirm of first case.
Last Thursday, an announcement was also made with a temporary suspension of entry for tourists who are traveling from countries with high coronavirus risk, these countries are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Macau, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.
Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University Jumped 59 Places in Global Rankings
Congratulations to Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) for jumping 59 places in one year only, the university now ranks the 79 globally in the internally recognized UI GreenMetric World University Rankings.
The university ranked second at the local level in the UI GreenMetric 2020 and the fourth in the Middle East.
The ranking, which is done every year, measures the efforts that campuses exert to become sustainable and its eco-friendly infrastructures. The index looks at 912 universities in 94 countries.
It looks at six main indicators: Infrastructure, energy, waste, water, transportation, and the level of the educational process.
PNU’s advancement this year reflects the effort of the university in maintaining the environmental standards and providing an integrated healthy educational environment that aims at achieving environmental sustainability at all levels.
The Kingdom to Provide Covid-19 Vaccine For Free to All Citizens and Residents
The Saudi Health Ministry announced last night that the Kingdom will provide citizens and residents with the Covid-19 vaccine for free, a senior official told Saudi Al Ekhbariya TV.
The ministry hopes that these vaccines will cover 70% of the Kingdom’s population by the end of next year.
Dr Abdullah Asiri, assistant undersecretary at the ministry, said that the Kingdom is to obtain vaccines through Covax and companies outside of the consortium.
“The Kingdom worked on two paths to obtain the vaccine, through the COVAX organisation, which the G20 had a role in creating and financing…Saudi Arabia will obtain a large number of vaccines through this facility, while the second track is directly contracting with the big companies to cover the gap that cannot be covered through COVAX,” Arab News mentioned Asiri as saying.
“One of the most important goals set by the G20 during Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency is to support all-inclusive and equitable access to vaccines, diagnostic and treatment tools,” he added.
Dr Al Rabeeah said Saudi Arabia had spent so far more than $200 million on vaccine and developing a drug for the virus.
The promising news is that so far, three vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have been found to be at least 70% effective.
G-20 Leaders Close Riyadh Summit and World Leaders Discuss Efforts in Facing the Pandemic
The G20 Leaders’ Summit was presented virtually this year due to the pandemic and was hosted by Saudi Arabia with the participation of the world’s leaders.
The two-day conference ended on Sunday, its organizers hailed it as a success. Following this success, the Kingdom handed over G20 presidency to Italy as Riyadh summit concluded.
The two-day summit, the 15th meeting of the forum, has allowed leaders of economies to come together and discuss the most challenging socioeconomic issues, including finding a response to the pandemic and its challenges.
“We underscore the urgent need to bring the spread of the virus under control,” the leaders of the G-20 nations said in the communique.
“We have seen very clear signs but also actions by the G-20 supporting multilateralism,” Mohammed al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, said during a news conference at the summit’s conclusion.
“We hope that Italy will crystallize this idea with the aim of supporting joint international coordination and intensifying the role, to come up with policies and initiatives to meet any challenges and determine the economic and well-being of our peoples,” the crown prince said.
The crown prince stressed on the importance of cooperation in standing against the outbreak of COVID-19, and its health, economic, and social repercussions.
The G20 leaders also promised to “spare no effort” to ensure the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines worldwide.
“We are taking immediate and exceptional measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its intertwined health, social and economic impacts, including through the implementation of unprecedented fiscal, monetary and financial stability actions,” the statement said.