Saudi Aramco donates coronavirus masks to Houston, Texas

20/04/20

Saudi Aramco has donated 30,000 of the masks to Houston. (File/Shutterstock)

  • Most recent statistics show Texas with 18,923 cases of the disease, a daily increase of 663, and 477 deaths
  • The masks are being offered to protect protect fire, police and health responders in Houston

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco has come to the aid of the US city of Houston, Texas, with a donation of 30,000 masks for first responders fighting the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in the heart of the American oil industry.

A statement from Aramco Americas said: “We are supporting efforts to protect fire, police and health responders in Houston through a donation of 30,000 KN95 masks to help the city and the major of Houston, Sylvester Turner.”

The mayor responded: “We know that medical supplies and protective equipment, like these masks, are in short supply throughout the US. We are fortunate to have a great corporate citizen like Aramco utilizing its procurement and global supply chain to source this quantity of masks during this challenging time.”

Most recent statistics show Texas with 18,923 cases of the disease, a daily increase of 663, and 477 deaths. The biggest number are in Harris County, which contains the densely populated city of Houston.

Turner said Aramco works side-by-side with local government and other charitable organizations to address issues ranging from education, hunger and environmental protection.

Mohammed Alshammari, president and chief executive of Aramco Americas, said: “The safety of our employees and the community is a top priority for us. Houston has been our headquarters for nearly 50 years.

“This donation is one of the ways we are looking to help the city during these challenging and difficult times,” he added.

As the business center for the American shale oil industry, Texas is also facing a wave of financial challenges as a result of falling oil prices in the wake of the global collapse in demand for crude.

This article was first published in Arab News

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WHO thanks Saudi Arabia for donating $500 million in fight against coronavirus

18/04/20

A tv grab taken from the World Health Organization website shows WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivering a virtual news briefing on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on March 23, 2020. (File/AFP)

  • The Kingdom will allocate $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation
  • Coronavirus has killed over 150,000 people globally

DUBAI: The World Health Organization thanked Saudi Arabia’s King Salman for donating $500 million to support the international efforts in preventing the coronavirus spread, state news agency SPA reported on Friday.

“I express my great gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and to the Saudi people for their great generosity by donating $500 million, in response to plan to combat the Coronavirus, hoping the rest of the G20 members to follow King Salman step,” the World Health Organization’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The Kingdom will allocate $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, $150 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, and $200 million to other international and regional health organizations and programs.

Coronavirus has killed over 150,000 people globally and infected more than 2.2 million individuals in 193 countries and territories.

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Envoy highlights Saudi Arabia’s efforts to confront COVID-19

12/04/20

SPA

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, participated in a video conference in which Arab efforts to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic were discussed.

Other issues of common concern to the nations represented at the meeting, especially the Palestinian cause and the current political challenges facing Arab countries in the international arena, were touched on.

Al-Mouallami briefed the group on the announcement of the Arab coalition for a two-week comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen as of Thursday. The announcement came in response to the call of the UN secretary-general and his special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

Al-Mouallami also briefed the group on the Kingdom’s efforts to support Yemen for the year 2020, including its contribution of $500 million to support the humanitarian response plan and its $25 million allotted to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later on Thursday, Griffiths praised the Arab coalition’s ceasefire announcement in a tweet and thanked Saudi Arabia for “putting forward this positive initiative.”

He added that the initiative demonstrates the Kingdom’s commitment to “de-escalating the conflict” in Yemen and “aligning its efforts with those of the UN.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia launches two development projects in Yemen

04/04/20

SPA

SOCOTRA, YEMEN: The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched two new projects in Socotra governorate related to air and road transport, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.
The first project will provide buses on the island, while the second is to support Socotra Airport by providing security and safety measures and equipment, including a state-of-the-art firetruck —which complies with recommendations for airport safety and firefighting from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — and a fully equipped ambulance.

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SAMA pledges financial support for those hit by coronavirus crisis

29/03/20

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has pledged to support people living in the Kingdom who lose their jobs as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. (Shutterstock)

Statement said it was important for banks to commit to supporting their customers
RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has pledged to support people living in the Kingdom who lose their jobs as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis – offering financial support for any charges incurred as a result.

“The measures taken include supervisory measures and their preventive policies to tackle the impact of coronavirus. This aims to support the banks during these difficult times and help them focus on providing their customers with the best banking services to meet their financial needs,” the Authority clarified.

The statement added that it was important for banks to commit to supporting their customers, so that they can withstand the impact of the virus, as well as support the private sector as its cash flow falls.

These means include supporting and financing the private sector through preventive measures that benefit the customer, the bank and the economy, the statement added.

The SAMA said this would be achieved by adjusting or restructuring existing funds without incurring any additional expenses or fees on banks.

The aim is to also sustain their activities and adopt and implement the plans of their private sector customers to preserve the employment rates of the affected enterprises.

Rates will be preserved by providing the enterprises’ financing needs, supporting the individual customers that have lost their jobs in the private sector and exempting all customers, for at least six months, from e-transaction fees, minimum balance fees and from any fees imposed on refinancing operations or on terminating existing agreements.

The reassessment of interest rates and other fees on credit cards for current and new customers will be reviewed in line with the current decrease of interest rates due to the economic situation. The fees on foreign money exchange will be refunded to customers wishing to cancel their transactions. Those who cancel travel-related bookings made on credit cards, Mada debit cards or prepaid cards will also be refunded.

“SAMA is following up on the development of the coronavirus-related impact on various economic sectors including the banking and financial sector. It will provide the required assistance to maintain the safety and stability of the financial sector and enable it to support and finance the activities of other economic sectors,” the Authority stressed, highlighting the importance of banks following up on all the development and challenges and the extent of their impact on the available capital, liquidity and other financial safety indicators.

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WHO chief thanks Saudi Arabia for coronavirus aid package sent to Yemen

24/03/20

  • WHO chief says all must be led by solidarity to keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable
  • The shipment from Saudi Arabia also included trauma meds and supplies

DUBAI: The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has thanked Saudi Arabia after it airlifted coronavirus protection supplies to Yemen.

In a tweet posted in response to images of the aid parcels shared on social media, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was important to be united during the coronavirus crisis and he thanked Saudi Arabia for he described as the Kingdom’s “great support to WHO in this critical time of #COVID19.”

“We all must be led by solidarity to keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. With this kind of commitment and support, we can stop the #coronavirus from spreading,” he tweeted.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

@DrTedros

Thank you for your great support to @WHO in this critical time of . We all must be led by solidarity to keep the world safe & serve the vulnerable. With this kind of commitment and support, we can stop the from spreading.https://twitter.com/WHOEMRO/status/1242014998723022853?s=20 

WHO EMRO

@WHOEMRO

Special thanks to Saudi Arabia who airlifted critical @WHO #COVID19 supplies to #Yemen, including personal protective items for health workers & lab screening tests for Aden & Sana’a. The shipment also incl. trauma meds & supplies to support the ongoing response to the crisis.

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The supplies included personal protective items for health workers and laboratory screening tests for Aden and Sana’a.

The shipment from Saudi Arabia also included trauma meds and supplies to support the ongoing response to the crisis.

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King Salman orders $10m payment to WHO to aid fight against coronavirus

10/03/20

  • WHO welcome donation by King Salman as fight against coronavirus continues
  • Four new cases of coronavirus identified in the Kingdom as schools and colleges close

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued on Monday a directive ordering the donation of $10 million to support the World Health Organisation’s  (WHO) efforts to fight coronavirus.

Saudi authorities also on Monday said nine new coronavirus cases had been identified, adding that it was suspending travel by air and sea between the Kingdom and 14 countries to prevent the spread of the disease.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working together to combat novel coronavirus (COVID-19),” a joint statement read.

“In support of this effort, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has provided $10 million to the World Health Organization for the implementation of urgent measures to minimize the spread of the disease and to support countries with vulnerable health infrastructures.”

And Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of WHO said the organization “greatly appreciates this generous humanitarian gesture from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which will contribute significantly to efforts to safeguard global health.”

The Ministry of Health said the new cases were four Saudi nationals, two Bahrainis, an American and an Egyptian.

Meanwhile it was also announced on Monday that people who failed to declare correct health-related information at entry points would face fines of up to $133,000.

Earlier state news agency SPA reported that the authorities were suspending travel for Saudi citizens and foreign residents to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Italy and South Korea.

Oman, France, Germany and Spain were added later on Monday.

People travelling from those countries or anyone who has been there in the past 14 days would also be temporarily banned from entering the Kingdom.

The discovery of the four new cases brings the total number of those confirmed to have the virus in the Kingdom to 15.

Previously on Sunday, the health ministry said four cases had been confirmed in Qatif, raising the total to 11 cases.

A statement by the Saudi health ministry said the first case was a Saudi citizen, related to a previous case in Qatif. The patient is now isolated in hospital.

Two of the other patients are Bahraini women who had traveled from Iraq on their way to Bahrain. They were also isolated in a hospital in Qatif.

The fourth case was a US national returning to the Kingdom after traveling to the Philippines and Italy. That patient was sent to an isolation unit in a hospital in Riyadh.

Last week, the Kingdom stopped the entry into the Kingdom of travelers by land transportation from Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait.

Only commercial vehicles are allowed. People traveling into the Kingdom from these countries were told to board flights only through the three major airports in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam where they can be checked by health authorities.

In Riyadh the Riyadh Boulevard and Winter Wonderland were closed this week due to increased concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

And the Saudi Ministry of Education said Sunday that schools and universities would be closed from Monday as part of “preventive and precautionary” measures recommended by health authorities.

The decision covers all educational institutions – public and private – and technical and vocational training institutions.

Also suspended from Monday are all educational and Quranic activities at mosques.

The Ministry of Interior said Sunday that it would limit of movement top and from the governorate of Qatif, to prevent the virus from spreading.

The initial 11 cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom were all residents in Qatif, located in the Eastern Province. Some of them were said to have travelled to Iran, one of the worst hit countries by coronavirus.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia donates $1 million to UN Alliance of Civilizations

31/01/20

  • This came during a meeting with the high representative of the UNAOC, Miguel Angel Moratinos, in New York

NEW YORK: Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, on Thursday, delivered a $1 million check from the Kingdom in support of the plan of action, activities and programs of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).
This came during a meeting with the high representative of the UNAOC, Miguel Angel Moratinos, in New York.
Moratinos commended the great role played by Saudi Arabia in spreading the message of peace and love and its call for coexistence and rejection of hatred and violence.
This contribution from the Kingdom comes as a part of the $3 million Saudi Arabia pledged to provide in support of the UNAOC’s work over the next three years.

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Saudi Arabia ranked global 5th, Arab 1st for humanitarian aid

Time: 10 January, 2020 

The rankings were a result of the unlimited backing by King Salman, says aid chief. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has been ranked a global fifth, and first in the Arab world, for its provision of humanitarian aid.

According to figures published on Wednesday on the UN Financial Tracking Service platform, the Kingdom contributed $1,281,625,265 (SR4,808,021,026 or 5.5 percent) toward the total amount of international spending on relief programs.

In Yemen, the Kingdom’s 2019 share of international humanitarian aid funding for the war-torn country amounted to $216 billion (31.3 percent).

Adviser at the Royal Court and general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, said the rankings were a result of the unlimited backing by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for support initiatives around the world.

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Conjoined twins’ parents praise Saudi care

Time: 02 January, 2020

Father of Mauritanian conjoined twins Taqi Mahmoud. (AN photo)
  • The twins were brought to Riyadh on directives from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to study their case
  • Once the examining is complete, the doctors will be able to tell when they can carry out the separation surgery

RIYADH: The parents of Mauritanian conjoined twins said they were extremely touched by the support provided by the Saudi leadership to aid their children.

The conjoined twins — Mohammed and Fadhil — and their parents were brought to Riyadh on directives from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to study their case and the possibility of separating them.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the father of the twins, Taqi Mahmoud, thanked the Saudi leadership for the generosity shown to them.

He said he was very grateful for the leadership’s efforts, including arrangements to bring them to Riyadh, the welcome by the team at the King Abdullah Specialized Children Hospital (KASCH) and the warm hospitality provided to them throughout.

“The journey from Mauritania to Riyadh in coordination with the Saudi and Mauritanian authorities was very smooth, and the procedures for transferring the twins to Riyadh were carried out easily,” said Mahmoud.

“We are very grateful that Saudi Arabia extended help with open arms to receive us, the service being extended to us is so generous and welcoming,” he added.

Mahmoud said that his family traveled on a private jet on the instructions of King Salman.

He added that the twins, who upon arrival in the early hours on Tuesday were transferred to the KASCH, are undergoing various tests.

Once the examining is complete, the doctors will be able to tell when they can carry out the separation surgery.

Mahmoud said that the hospital communicated with the Mauritanian Ministry of Health, which then discussed the issue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry found that Saudi Arabia was the best country for assisting the twins, and the Kingdom sent a private jet within just a few days.

Abdulrahman Dadah, Mauritanian Embassy spokesman — who along with other officials visited the twins at the hospital — told Arab News: “We greatly appreciate the generous support of Saudi Arabia with instructions of the king and the crown prince.

“We know this is common support from Saudi Arabia to every such case, we appreciate that the Kingdom was one of the first countries to offer this health service, we are grateful for this opportunity which is giving the true meaning to humanity.”

Dr. Mohammed Al-Namshan, chairman of pediatric surgery at KASCH and the twins’ supervisor, told Arab News: “We received them in good condition. They are in stable condition.

“We have completed some investigations including laboratory tests, radiological tests and studied the heart condition. For the next few days we will continue with examinations to decide about the separation.”

He said that everything is being provided for free. The mother is staying with the twins in the ward, whereas the father has been provided housing near the hospital with other facilities and daily expenses as part of the humanitarian service.

On the duration of stay for treatment, he said: “It depends if we find any problems that will halt their separation.”

He added that sometimes there are problems and organs cannot be separated, which prevents successful surgery.

“Under the National Twins Separation Program, we studied more than 110 babies and separated 48 of them. The other cases were not favorable for separation,” Al-Namshan.

Should the operation be approved, they will become the 49th set of twins to undergo the procedure in one of the largest separation programs in the world, he said.

Mahmoud expressed his confidence in the Saudi medical team, led by the experience supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, and renowned pediatric surgeon, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah.

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