MOH News

MOH: Community Awareness Our Top Priority in Upcoming Phase
17 October 2021

The MOH spokesman, Dr. Muhammed Al-Abdulaali, said that he is grateful for the accomplishments made by MOH in KSA over the past period, during the pandemic. “We are thankful for the steps we have taken to go back to our normal activities. We are proud of this, not as government entities; but as a society that has fulfilled its duties and responsibilities against this pandemic,” he said. 

Dr. Al-Abdulaali noted that the next stage will require focusing on two main pillars, as the precautionary measures are eased. The first is community awareness, and the second is a sense of responsibility by authorities and organizers of activities. It is essential to continue to adhere to the preventive measures in all places, especially that the pandemic is still present around the world.

The MOH spokesman stressed the importance of speeding up the process of getting vaccinated among individuals who have not yet received their vaccination due to personal circumstances that may have prevented them from doing that. Research and studies have proven that the Moderna vaccine is highly efficient and stronger than other vaccines against new COVID-19 variants. Getting the two doses of the vaccine is also crucial for pregnant women in all trimesters. They are both safe and effective. 

He called on high-risk groups to speed up taking the booster shot. These include individuals with organ transplants or chronic renal failure. Soon, these groups will expand to include more people with chronic diseases, seniors, and health practitioners.

More than 4.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given to people in the Kingdom. Nearly 2.6 million people have received their two doses.

Al-Abdulaali revealed that 41 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Kingdom, bringing the total cases to 547,931. Furthermore, 2221 active cases and 106 critical cases were reported.

The MOH spokesman made this statement in the COVID-19 briefing held on Sunday, with the participation of MOI spokesman, Talal Al-Shalhoub; the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing spokesman, Mr. Saif Al-Suwailem; the General Presidency of Mecca's Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah’s spokesman, Mr. Hani bin Hosni Haidar, and Dr. Emad Al-Muhammadi, a preventive medicine and public health consultant in The Public Health Authority ‘Weqaya’. He mentioned that 47 COVID-19 recoveries were reported, bringing the total number of recoveries to 536,947 to date. And 3 new deaths were reported, bringing the total number of mortalities to 8,763.

“We are grateful for the reassuring health condition of people in our country, and for the great leadership of the Kingdom, which has shown humane concern in the noblest forms, as well as a lot of generosity, to maintain the safety of everyone in our homeland,” MOI spokesperson, Lt. Col. Al-Shalhoub said. 

He added that the fruits of these efforts are reaped as the precautionary measures are eased according to decisions to be in force as of 17 October 2021, as follows: wearing face masks is not mandatory in open areas, with a few exceptions. 

Face masks will continue to be mandatory in closed places. The full capacity of the Grand Mosque can be utilized, while workers and visitors remain obligated to wear face masks at all times inside the mosque. 

‘Eatmarna’ and ‘Tawakkalna’ applications will still be used to arrange dates of Umrah and prayers. Moreover, the full capacity of the Prophet’s Mosque will be utilized, and all workers and visitors will be obligated to wear face masks at all times. The aforementioned applications will also be used to arrange Umrah and prayer dates. 

Social distancing will not be required, and the full capacity of all means of transportation, restaurants, and cinemas will be utilized. Holding wedding parties and other parties will be allowed without restrictions in terms of the number of attendees; however, the precautionary measures will still be applied given the potential risks. 

Al-Shalhoub explained that 22,746 violations of the precautionary measures were recorded last week, and were handled according to the relevant laws and regulations. 

People entering establishments and participating in activities with others must be fully vaccinated, with only a few, stipulated, exceptions. The precautionary measures will continue to be applied, including wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing. Face masks are absolutely mandatory in places where the health status of people cannot be checked via (Tawakkalna) application.

For his part, Hani bin Hosni Haider stressed the readiness of the General Presidency of Mecca's Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah to receive pilgrims and visitors, in full capacity. He reviewed the plan to receive pilgrims and worshipers and the provided services and applied measures to create the proper climate for visitors following the decision to ease the preventive measures. Fully-vaccinated individuals will be allowed to use to enter the mosques once their health status is verified via ‘Tawakklna’ application. 

Moreover, under the directives of His Excellency the General President Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais, the General Presidency announced its readiness to receive pilgrims and worshipers with full capacity, through plans developed in cooperation with all relevant parties in the field of pilgrim service in the Two Holy Mosques. This plan is flexible in terms of dealing with the crowds as the precautionary measures are eased. This aims to create the required climate and enhance the services provided.

With regard to Umrah, the number of gates designated for the entry of pilgrims has been increased to 44. The process of grouping and organizing crowds is supervised by nearly 780 employees of the presidency to ensure a smooth entry flow and prevent congestion. The courtyard will be open for pilgrims only, while other prayers can be performed on the first floor.

 “Plastic barriers around the Kaaba have been removed and replaced with other barriers, in preparation for their complete removal and returning to normal after the end of the pandemic. We will also be utilizing all floors for pilgrims to perform their rituals according to the developed plans in that regard. As for prayer areas in the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, the entire capacity of the oratories will be utilized in the third Saudi expansion with all its floors, outdoor yards, internal corridors, and all its facilities. In addition, the “King Fahd” expansion will be fully used, with its ground and first floors. 

The same will apply to the Prophet’s Mosque and the outer courtyards of the Two Holy Mosques. We are thrilled and thankful to see the social distancing marks on the floor removed, in implementation of the decision to ease the precautionary measures, as all worshipers in the Two Holy Mosques will have received the two doses of the vaccine and will continue to wear face masks at all times. The ground will be covered with carpets again and disinfected directly before and after every prayer. The outdoor yards of the Two Holy Mosques will also be covered with carpets,” he explained.

All the services that were previously provided in the Two Holy Mosques have returned to normal, while the precautionary measures continue to be applied. More than 4,000 containers of Zamzam water were placed in the Two Holy Mosques, providing up to 100,000 liters of cooled Zamzam water daily. Up to 500,000 bottles of Zamzam water are also distributed to worshipers and pilgrims in the Two Holy Mosques.

The presidency has recruited about 10,000 workers to serve pilgrims around the clock. The Two Holy Mosques are sterilized and disinfected 10 times a day using the latest sterilization and disinfection mechanisms. The presidency has also harnessed many artificial intelligence mechanisms to carry out sterilization and disinfection services, distribute Zamzam water to worshippers, and provide guidance and counseling services to pilgrims who are looking for legitimate answers to their questions or fatwas. This happens through direct communication with the guidance and counseling staff in the Two Holy Mosques around the clock in 10 international languages. 

In addition to that, Islamic lessons and Qur'anic sessions in the Two Holy Mosques have resumed, and will continue to be broadcast on the Manarat Al-Haramain platform live in 10 languages. The online group Quran-recitation will also continue to provide its services to Muslims around the world. 

The Presidency has also launched several applications that facilitate for pilgrims the performance of rituals at the Two Holy Mosques. They include ‘Tanaqol’ application, which lets pilgrims request electric and manual vehicles for those wishing to use them during the performance of rituals.

He stressed that performing Umrah and prayers in the Holy Mosque and praying near the tomb of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) requires having a permit issued from ‘Tawakkalna’ application. Permits are only issued for immune individuals who have received the two doses of the vaccine.  Praying in the Prophet’s Mosque is permitted only for individuals who have received the two doses of the vaccine and can prove it by showing their health status on ‘Tawakkalna’ application when entering the courtyards of the Mosque.

The success seen in the past few months was mainly driven by the great awareness of the visitors of the Two Holy Mosques, and their adherence to the precautionary measures. “We are still counting on your awareness during the coming days. You must wear your face masks the whole time you are at the Two Holy Mosques and adhere to the dates issued in your Umrah, prayer and visit permits. We hope you continue to cooperate with the employees of the presidency and the authorities working in the Two Holy Mosques, who are at your service,” he said. 

The spokesman of the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing, Saif Al-Suwailem, said that this year more than 5,350 inspection visits were conducted by local authorities and municipalities. The necessary legal measures were taken against 95 violating establishments. 

The Ministry chairs several committees to follow up on COVID-19 updates, from which 17 executive committees emerged, in cooperation with 10 government agencies. 6,450 inspection visits were carried out, which resulted in recording more than 154,000 violations by several establishments, and taking the necessary legal measures against them.

Al-Suwailem stated that events are allowed in celebration halls and other venues, as long as all approved health controls and protocols are applied. These mainly include ensuring that all attendees are fully vaccinated and are wearing face masks, and that continuous disinfection takes place, with proper ventilation. Women beauty salons can provide their services as usual while taking into account all health measures and protocols.

Dr. Emad Al-Muhammadi, public health consultant in ‘Weqaya’, said that maintaining social distancing and limiting capacity is crucial in places that do not normally have control over their visitors. They include mosques and public markets. Checking the body temperature of customers at the entrances of establishments is no more required, as checking their health statuses on ‘Tawakkalna’ application will be sufficient.

He emphasized that the required distance in education facilities has been reduced to 30cm between desks. And teachers can choose to wear a medical face shield instead of a face mask.

He noted that since the beginning of the pandemic globally, and before the first case was recorded in the Kingdom, Weqaya has adopted a strategy to develop health protocols based on the developments of the virus, in coordination with the concerned authorities, with the aim of formulating comprehensive and clear protocols.

Last Update : 20 October 2021 08:38 AM
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