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Egypt has overcome peak of coronavirus second wave, says health official

CAIRO: Egypt has overcome the peak of the second wave of coronavirus, according to the president's health adviser Mohammed Awad Taj El-Din.

He said that new coronavirus cases were currently decreasing, pointing to the continued presence of the disease, but that precautionary measures still needed to be followed in order to reduce infection rates among people.

"The second wave was high, but there is a decrease in new cases. As for cases that need hospitals or ventilators, their numbers have decreased," he added.

Taj El-Din regarded the fluctuation in the number of cases, whether it was an increase or decrease, as natural because COVID-19 symptoms appeared in some people up to two weeks after they had contracted the virus.

He said that intensive care rooms were available as were respirators and, as long as there was a decline in the number of new cases, there was no reason to be worried.

Egypt on Tuesday morning received 300,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine, the second batch from the company after the first shipment of 50,000 doses in December.

It also received 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in early February, as part of its program to vaccinate health workers.

Taj El-Din said the antibodies produced by the coronavirus vaccines could last up to nine months, and the immunity to coronavirus that was produced by the vaccines, the period in which people were protected from contracting the virus again, varied between three and nine months.

He explained that the immunity period varied from one person to another, as some vaccines gave 86 percent protection from the virus while others gave up to 90 percent.

He said it was necessary to limit gatherings and follow precautionary measures during Ramadan so that there was no new coronavirus wave in Egypt.


Air Arabia Egypt to start direct flights to Muscat next month

Air Arabia Egypt, a leading low-cost carrier in the region, has announced plans to launch direct service to Muscat, Oman, from the capital city Cairo, flying twice a week starting from March 11.

These flights, all Airbus A320s, will operate on Mondays and Thursdays. Flight No E5 753 will depart Cairo International Airport (CAI) at 12.55pm and arrive in Muscat International Airport at 6.35pm. On return, Flight No E5 754 will take off from Muscat at 7.25pm and land in Cairo at 10.05pm.

Customers can now book their direct flights on Cairo-Muscat route through Air Arabia's website besides call centre or travel agencies.

Since Covid-19 outbreak, Air Arabia said its customer journey has been upgraded to include all safety measures that are in line with the highest international measures.

Air Arabia's entire fleet is fitted with HEPA cabin air filters, which help to provide a safer and healthier environment for passengers. Customers are always requested to comply with the conditions and requirements of the countries of departure and destination, it added.- TradeArabia News Service


French company wins bid to manage and operate Salam City/10th of Ramadan City Electric Train

RATP Dev, a French company, has won a bid for the management, operation, and maintenance of the Salam City/10th of Ramadan City Electric Train, which willl pass through Cairo's New Administrative Capital (NAC).

The Egyptian Minister of Transport Kamel al-Wazir on Wednesday announced that RATP Dev had signed a contract for the project, in the presence of the French ambassador to Cairo Stphane Romatet, and officials from Egypt's Ministry of Transport and the National Authority for Tunnels.

Wazir said that this is the second contract between the company and the ministry for one of the ministry's projects, as the same company operates Cairo's third metro line.

The electric train will extend at a length of 90 km along 16 stations, Wazir said, pointing out that most of the construction work in the project has been completed and that only finishing touches and railway work are left to do, followed by installing signals.

He added that four Chinese trains for the project have been manufactured, out of a total of 22 trains. Trial operation is scheduled for August 2021, and the first and second phases of the project are set to be inaugurated in October 2021.

According to Wazir, the electric train represents a new development artery for new urban communities like the cities of Obour, Mostaqbal, Shorouk, New Heliopolis, Badr Industrial Zone, the 10th of Ramadan city, and the NAC, as it will ensure rapid and safe movement between these cities and Cairo.

The project starts from Adly Mansour station, then runs parallel to the Cairo-Ismailia desert road to Badr City, then branches north to the 10th of Ramadan City and south to the NAC, extending all the way to the International Sports City.

Services at the Adly Mansour Station are expected to be exchanged between five different means of transportation including the subway, electric train, the railway (Cairo/ Suez) and bus transportation in addition to the Bus rapid transit (BRT) system (Adly Mansour/al-Salam).


Egypt to host branches for University of London and University of Central Lancashire

Egypt's Official Gazette published in its issue eight bis (f), President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's decision #86 of 2021 regarding the establishment of a branch from the University of London and the University of Central Lancashire.

The first article stipulated that an Egyptian university institution would be established under the name "European Universities in Egypt" to be based in the new Administrative Capital, aiming to host a branch in Egypt for each of the two universities whose headquarters are located in the UK.


Sharjah schools to continue with distance learning until the end of spring term

All schools and nurseries in Sharjah will continue distance learning for the rest of the spring term.

The decision to extend remote learning until March 25 was made to keep pupils safe, authorities said.

Classroom lessons were originally suspended for at least two weeks in mid-February to curb the spread of Covid-19.

But Sharjah's emergency, crisis and disaster management team and education authorities decided that it was not yet safe to resume in-person learning.

"In co-operation with the Ministry of Education and the Sharjah Private Education Authority, the team decided to continue the distance learning system at 100 per cent for pupils in schools, and children in public and private nurseries in the emirate, until the end of the spring semester," said a statement on Wam.

The local crisis authority said it would continue its multilingual awareness campaign using drones to educate the community on the need to adhere to preventative measures.

All schools and nurseries across the Northern Emirates, which includes Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain, returned to online learning earlier in the month.

At the time, authorities said the restrictions in Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah would last "until further notice".

Home studies also resumed in Ajman this month, after the emirate's crisis authority and the education ministry said it would halt face-to-face learning.

But pupils returned to classrooms in Abu Dhabi last week, with some children, aged between 11 and 14, attending for the first time in almost a year.

In-person learning has not been suspended in Dubai this academic year.


Dubai tourists get free visa extension till end of March

DUBAI: Tourists visiting Dubai have had their visas extended for free until the end of March, according to various local reports.

Tourists reported that their visas have been automatically extended after they had checked their e-visa status online, local daily Khaleej Times said on Sunday

Travel agents also confirmed to the daily that the validity of Dubai visas they applied for on behalf of their clients have been automatically extended to March 31.

A source from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs told the local paper that visas been extended to those with expired one-month and three-month visit and tourist visas.

UAE Prime Minister and Dubai ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, had announced on Dec. 27 a free one-month visa extension to all tourists. The announcement came when several countries-imposed lockdowns and restrictions on movement and air travel due to the new, and more infectious, COVID-19 strain.

The embassies of Pakistan and India has also released statements stating that the UAE government had extended the validity of visit visas issued before Dec. 28 till March 31.

However, travel agents warn tourists to check their visas as the extension may not apply to all, with some having to pay fines for over staying.


Lulu opens first Saudi Arabia store fully staffed by women - in pictures

Lulu Hypermarket has opened its first store fully staffed by women in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The 37,000 square-foot express shop near King Abdul Aziz University has a staff of 103 Saudi women.

It is the 20th branch of Lulu Group in the kingdom, one of over 200 stores the company has set up across the Gulf since 2000.

The team is led by Maha Mohammed Alqarni, who is passionate about changing stereotypes around women in the workplace.

"I am very proud to be the first woman to be the general manager leading a shop of Saudi women," she said, adding that she wanted to take the opportunity to change the way women are perceived and empower them by "taking it to the next level".

Lulu Group currently employs 3,000 Saudis, including 800 women.

"This branch focuses primarily on organic products with a diverse collection of healthy food options," one of the staff told The National.

During the launch last week, Shehim Mohammed, director of Lulu Hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia, said it was the first store led by an all-female team, from the general manager to cashiers.

"It signifies our effort to empower more Saudi women in the workforce," Mr Mohammed said.

"We are committed to providing world-class shopping and we shall continue meeting the lifestyle needs of our clientele base," he said.

In line with Covid-19 safety and protocols, the store only permits entry with those who have downloaded the Tawakkalna app.


Saudization exceeds 50% in seven activities

RIYADH - The percentage of Saudization in seven major economic activities in the Saudi private sector exceeded 50 percent by the end of the third quarter of the year 2020, according to a local newspaper report.

The rate of Saudization in the private sector as a whole reached 23.8 percent during this period with the number of Saudi workers accounted for 2.03 million while non-Saudi workers represented 76.2 percent with 6.48 million workers, out of a total of 8.5 million workers in the private sector.

The financial and insurance activities came up top among the list of seven economic activities with a Saudization rate of 83.6 percent.

It was followed by public administration, defense and mandatory social insurance with 71.9 percent; activities of foreign organizations and entities 71.5 percent; mining and quarrying activities 63.2 percent; education 52.9 percent; information and communications 50.7 percent; and supplies of electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning 50.6 percent, Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported.

Saudization in the sectors of agriculture, forestry and fishing; construction; administrative and support services; and the activities of productive families recorded the least percentage of Saudization with the rates of 15.5 percent, 13.5 percent, 12 percent and 11.4 percent respectively.

The percentage is calculated on the basis of the private sector workers who are registered at the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI).

The GOSI has classified professions in the private sector into 21 economic activities, and these include agriculture, forestry, and fishing, as well as mining and quarrying with a localization rate of 15.5 percent; manufacturing industries 63.2 percent; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supplies 50.6 percent; water supply, sewage activities, waste management and treatment with Saudization of 26.5 percent, construction 13.5 percent; wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 23.4 percent; transportation and storage 25.3 percent; and accommodation activities and food services 20.2 percent.

The classifications also include information and communications with a Saudization rate of 50.7 percent; financial and insurance activities 83.6 percent; real estate activities 31.9 percent; professional, scientific and technical activities 29.8 percent; administrative and support services activities 12 percent; public administration, defense and compulsory social insurance 71.9 percent; and education 52.9 percent.

The human health and social service activities achieved localization rate of 48.3 percent; arts and entertainment 29.9 percent; other service activities 19.6 percent; household activities that employ individuals or produce goods and services 11.4 percent; and activities of foreign organizations and bodies 71.5 percent.


Expats with expired iqamas can register on Tawakkalna

RIYADH - Expatriates can register themselves on the Tawakkalna application even if the validity period of their residency permits (iqamas) has expired, the app management team said in a statement on its official Twitter account.

Citizens of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states can register on the application by using their national ID or Gulf ID. However, an expatriate who has a final exit visa cannot register.

It is also permissible for those who are staying in the Kingdom on visit visas to register on the application. For this, their presence in the Kingdom is mandatory. A visit visa holder needs to enter information such as his or her passport number, date of birth, nationality, mobile phone number and password.

The statement said that the services will be provided through the Tawakkalna website as well as the application for smartphones, and there are no other platforms or applications for the registration.


Jawazat launches Tawasul service for expats

RIYADH - The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) announced on Wednesday the launch of the Tawasul service through the Muqeem portal, which will enable beneficiaries to get services and procedures done in the event of their non-implementation even after making the request.

The new service will be made available without the need to personally contact the Jawazat offices.

The Jawazat stated that the new service aims to enhance electronic transactions and communicate with the concerned officials at Jawazat offices as well as to reduce time and effort, in addition to raise the quality of services and speed of completion.

The Jawazat said that launching of the Tawasul service is also part of the efforts to further strengthening its drive to deliver benefits of advanced technology while serving its customers.


Saudi Arabia to assess skills of all workers in labour market

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has launched a professional programme to verify all skilled workers in the Kingdom have the required skills to effectively perform the jobs they were recruited for.

The "Professional Verification" programme was launched yesterday by the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation.

The programme, which will feature practical and theoretical examinations in the workers' specialised fields, seeks to improve the quality of skilled workers in the Saudi labour market, enhance their productivity, improve the quality of services they provide, as well as reduce the influx of unqualified workers into the Saudi labour market.

The "Professional Verification" programme has two separate tracks: the first aims to examine all skilled workers in their countries, in cooperation with selected international examination centres, before their arrival in the Kingdom while the second aims to examine existing skilled workers in Saudi Arabia in cooperation with certified local examination centres.

HRSD urged all establishments to begin the verification process for all their current skilled workers in the Kingdom, as the verification will become gradually enforced - based on the size of the establishment - starting July 2021.

This means the work visa for the targeted jobs will be linked to the skilled worker passing the examination in his country. This decision will be enforced on a gradual basis in accordance with a roll-out plan developed alongside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the countries sending labour to the Kingdom.

The programme is expected to develop the skills of the workforce in Saudi Arabia according to international standards to meet the needs of the Saudi labour market, and it will target more than 1,000 specialised professions belonging to 23 specialty fields as per the Saudi Standard Classification of Occupations.


Bahrain seeks partners for multi-billion dollar driverless metro project

Bahrain on Wednesday announced the launch of a new procurement process for the construction of the , an ambitious multi-billion dollar project to develop a public transport network using fully automated, driverless technology.

The Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications (MTT) said it is seeking to partner with global and regional industry players on a public-private-partnership (PPP) basis.

MTT added that it will host a Global Market Virtual Sounding Forum to introduce the project, and engage in dialogue with key players within the global construction industry.

The forum will be held during the first week of March and will be followed later in the year by the project's tendering via a global competitive bidding process.

MTT has appointed a team of financial, technical and legal advisors led by KPMG to act as the lead transaction advisors.

The project will consist of developing an extensive 109km rail-based urban transit network in a phased manner comprising of four transit lines.

Phase one of the plans comprises two lines with an estimated length of 28.6km and includes 20 stations with two interchanges. The two lines aim to connect the key transit points including Bahrain International Airport as well as major residential areas, commercial areas and school districts in Bahrain.

Announcing the launch of the project, Kamal bin Ahmed Mohamed, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, said: "The ministry is looking to collaborate with the private sector on a public private partnership basis to encourage innovation, create efficiencies and provide the best value for money for this project. This approach is reflective of our leadership's commitment to enable the private sector's active participation in the economy with the Government acting as a facilitator and regulator.

"We have been working in full force on a complete transportation infrastructure improvement strategy covering land, air and sea, to both support and drive the kingdom's economic development and serve our citizens, residents and visitors."

The Bahrain Metro Project is the latest in a line of large-scale projects in Bahrain, worth $32 billion, that will transform the transportation, industrial, hospitality and retail sectors through public and private investments. This includes a $7.5 billion investment across the manufacturing, energy, healthcare and education sectors.

Government holding companies will also be investing over $10 billion across projects within the aluminum and oil and gas sectors while work is also set to begin on the $4 billion King Hamad Causeway project following the appointment in October 2019 of a consultancy consortium to start developing the financial model and other requirements necessary for construction.

Most recently, the $1.1 billion Bahrain International Airport expansion has now been completed, with the new terminal ready and operational. The second phase of the expansion will focus on the new Cargo Express Village.

Bahrain's project pipeline is part of the wider $1.2 trillion worth of infrastructure development projects currently planned or underway across the GCC.


Bahrain extends COVID-19 curbs for 3 weeks amid surge in new infections

Cairo: Bahrain has said that it will extend for three more weeks a set of restrictions to limit a surge in COVID-19 cases.

A national medical taskforce team in charge of tackling COVID-19 has announced that the extension will take effect starting from Sunday, February 21, till March 14.

The extended measures include allowing a maximum of 70 per cent of employees at all government agencies to work from home; and suspending class attendance and replacing it with online education in public and private schools and higher education institutions as well as kindergartens in the country.

Other measures comprise closure of indoor gyms, and swimming pools, including all indoor exercise classes while outdoor exercises at gyms and sports halls are allowed with a maximum of 30 persons.

Private events

Services at restaurants and coffee shops will continue to be limited to outdoors. All social gatherings or private events with more than 30 persons are banned.

The national medical taskforce team urged everyone in the kingdom to exercise vigilance and caution to help curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Bahrain so far has confirmed a total of 116,482 virus cases and 418 related deaths.


Bahrain bank waives loan fees for COVID-19 vaccinated customers

Dubai: A Bahraini bank is waiving loan fees for customers vaccinated against COVID-19 in the latest regional initiative aimed at encouraging more people to take the jab, Al Arabiya reported.

Al Salam Bank said in a statement that it was offering financing solutions with no administrative fees, including personal and property facilities as well as the Mazaya social housing programme.

To benefit from the offer, customers will be required to show an official medical certificate or the Kingdom's 'BeAware' application as confirmation of their status.

Al Salam Bank's Head of Retail Banking Mohammed Buhijji said: "We are proud to launch the Al Salam Initiative, which aims to encourage all eligible members of the Bahraini community to take the vaccine against COVID-19, as a crucial step towards protecting themselves as individuals as well as the greater community.

"Granting a waiver of administrative fees on all financing facilities to all our customers who have been vaccinated is a reflection of our ongoing support to the public during the current circumstances."

Other incentives offered recently across the GCC states include discounted driving lessons, free coffee and complimentary taxi journeys.

Last week Bahrain Grand Prix announced that those vaccinated or who had recovered from the virus would be eligible to buy tickets for this year's Formula One season opener.

Earlier this month a mall in Bahrain announced it has also been letting food trucks and stalls feeling the financial pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic use its car park for free in an effort to boost local businesses.


Bahrain raises minimum salary for sponsoring family members

Dubai: Bahrain has raised the minimum monthly salary requirement for expatriates wishing to sponsor their family members, local media reported.

Earlier, the minimum monthly salary was BD250 and it has now been raised to BD400, according to a decision issued by Interior Minister Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.

As per the decision, it is stipulated that the monthly income of an expatriate should not be less than BD400 when sponsoring a husband, wife or children.

In order to sponsor children who are over the age of 24 or parents, the expatriates' minimum monthly income must be not less than BD1,000.

They must also have valid health insurance in Bahrain. The new decision stipulated that the Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs (NPRA) may exclude some cases as per their discretion.


Kuwait extends ban on non-national arrivals 'until further notice'

A ban on non-Kuwaitis entering the country has been extended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) from Sunday "until further notice" as part of measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

According to a press release from the DGCA, Kuwaitis; first-degree relatives of Kuwaitis and their accompanied domestic workers; and diplomats, their families and accompanied domestic workers as well as public and private medical staff and their families will continue to enter the country and be subjected to mandatory 14-day quarantine (seven days at one of the approved local hotels and seven days at home)

It added that Kuwaiti patients and students; unaccompanied minors (under-18-years-old); and diplomats, their families and accompanied domestic workers as well as public and private medical staff and their families, are all exempt from the hotel quarantine ruling, although they must do so at home for the entire 14-day period.

The DGCA stated that all travellers have to register on its 'Kuwait Mosafer' platform, and it warned those who do not register will not be allowed to board the plane.

Kuwait has registered 183,322 cases of coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic and recorded 1,039 deaths across the country.


Kuwait International Airport to begin 24-hour operations on March 7

Kuwait City: Kuwait International Airport has announced that it will begin operations at 100 per cent capacity since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic

Kuwait International Airport affairs deputy director-general M Saleh Al Fadaghi added that air traffic did not stop at the airport during this period whether for freight or evacuation and departures.

Starting March 7, the airport will be operating 24 hours a day, but this does not mean that there will be an increase in number of passengers or flights, but rather due to flight schedules of over 24 hours, he said.


Kuwait: Expats face deportation for violating curfew

Kuwait City: The Assistant Undersecretary for Public Security Affairs at the Ministry of Interior, Major General Faraj Al Zoubi, announced that legal measures will be taken against curfew violators, with expats possibly facing deportation, Al Rai reported.

As for Kuwaiti citizens caught violating the curfew, they will have a case filed against them.

Kuwait enforced a partial curfew starting on Sunday between the hours of 5:00pm to 5:00am everyday for a duration of a month.

Surprise checkpoints

Al Zoubi told Al Rai that there is coordination between all sectors in the ministry as security forces set up border security and check points across the country.

He added that there are surprise checkpoints set up inside residential areas and streets.

Those that are allowed to leave their homes during the partial curfew are people walking to the mosque during prayer times and anybody that has an authorized permit from the Ministry of Interior.

Residents and citizens can apply for a maximum of two-hour permit for the following reasons: medical emergency, doctor appointment, vaccine appointment or to conduct a PCR test.


COVID-19: Kuwait imposes partial curfew starting Sunday for a month - State TV

Kuwait's Cabinet has decided to impose a partial curfew in all parts of the country, starting Sunday March 7, from 5 pm until 5 am for a whole month, Al Qabas daily reported.

The decision was taken during its extraordinary meeting held today, Thursday, under the chairmanship of Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait.

The Cabinet has also approved a decision allowing salons, gyms and health clubs, and other commercial activities, to reopen from Sunday, 7 March, provided they shut when the curfew starts from 5 pm until 5 am on Sunday.

On February 3, the cabinet decided to close restaurants, reception halls from 8 pm until 5 am, and to suspend the activities of health clubs, gyms as well as salons, barbershops and spas, as part of measures taken to limit the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Over the past few weeks, Kuwait has been reporting an upward trend in the daily COVID-19 cases. To date, Kuwait has confirmed a total of 196,497 COVID-19 cases including 1,105 deaths and 183,321 recoveries.


Oman: Ministry of Labour amends end of service benefits for expats

Muscat: The Omani Ministry of Labour has amended the conditions for entitlement to end-of-service benefits for non-Omanis working for government offices with permanent work contracts.

This rule is applicable for those employees who have not completed 10 years of service and new employees.

Dr Mahad bin Saeed Baouin, the Omani Minister of Labour, said that the end of service grant is determined at the rate of one month's salary for each year of service, with a ceiling of maximum ten months for grades up to six and for grades above the ceiling is fixed at twelve months. The above is again subject to the amount not exceeding OMR 12,000.

Service term

Prior to this revision, the law had stipulated the benefit calculated at the rate of one month for each year of service up to 12 months for all financial ranks, without specifying a ceiling for the value of the amount.

Minimum service term for qualifying for this benefit has also been revised as five years. An exception to this rule is made for those whose services have been terminated, or whose service has stopped due to death or due to any inability to work.

Expatriate employees are also not entitled to receive the end of service benefits if he is punished with dismissal from service, or if his services are terminated as a result of a court ruling issued on crime involving breach of honor or trust.


Flights resume between Libya's rival cities of Benghazi, Misrata after seven years

Flights between the eastern Libya city of Benghazi and the western city of Misrata were restored Tuesday after a near seven-year absence, the latest tentative step toward national reconciliation.

An Afriqiyah Airways plane that took off from Benghazi touched down at Misrata airport at around 9:00 am (0700 GMT), the national airline said.

Residents welcomed the arriving plane "with much joy," added the airline, which is programming four flights per week between the two cities.

Afriqiyah Airways was founded by dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Libya has been in chaos ever since, with the main cleavage in recent years pitting forces loyal to a Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against an administration in the east loyal to general Khalifa Haftar who heads the Libyan National Army (LNA).

A ceasefire in October last year and the selection last month of a prime minister designate - approved by both main regional fiefdoms - has brought hope that a new interim government can lead the country to elections in December.

Alongside setting up a unified government, the October ceasefire also provided for the reopening of key air and land routes.

Discussions are underway on reopening the main road linking the east and west, and de-mining operations have taken place in recent weeks, notably around the city of Sirte, where the front line has been located for much of the past year.


COVID-19: Morocco Suspends Flights With 6 Other Countries

Rabat - Morocco's government suspended flights to and from six other countries to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants.

Morocco's National Airports Office (ONDA) announced today that Morocco has suspended flights with Norway, Finland, Greece, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Poland.

The travel suspension which started on Monday at midnight, will run until March 21.

Morocco has suspended flights with more than 19 countries as part of the proactive measures to limit the spread of the pandemic.

On March 5, Morocco also suspended flights with Algeria and Egypt.

The list of countries Morocco suspended flights includes, Turkey, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and Italy.

Morocco also suspended flights with Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Denmark, the UK, and Brazil.

The suspension of flights is part of Morocco's state of emergency.

Morocco extended the state of emergency last week until April 10.

The North African country imposed the measure in March 2020 after the outbreak of the pandemic.

Morocco seeks to reach a collective immunization as soon as possible, in the hope that normality can soon resume after a year of crisis due to the pandemic.

Morocco launched the vaccination campaign on January 28, vaccinating over 3,961,941 people as of March 8.

The number of COVID-19 cases reached 486,325, including 472,544 recoveries, and 8,683 deaths.


Vaccination Campaign for Foreign Residents in Morocco Running Smoothly

Rabat - The vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is also benefiting foreigners residing in Morocco.

President of the Association des Francais de Rabat (AFR) "Association of French [people] in Rabat], Frederic Bauer said that the vaccination campaign for foreign residents is running smoothly.

Like Moroccans, foreigners residing in Morocco benefit from free vaccines.

King Mohammed VI ordered that the vaccination campaign should be free for all Moroccans and residents.

The country launched the campaign on January 28. The King was the first to take the vaccine.

Bauer lauded the smooth organization of the campaign, saying that local authorities "knocked on our doors to communicate to us the dates and places" of the vaccination center.

Authorities also notified foreign residents, many of which have taken the first dose of the vaccine.

"The management of the crisis in the kingdom was perfect," the president of AFR said, citing the low number of COVID-19 cases.

The AFR president added that Moroccans should be proud of their country.

"Morocco is in full development," he added.

Morocco recorded 486, 325 COVID-19 cases to date. The number of recoveries reached 472, 544, while the death toll stands at 8,683.

The number of active COVID-19 cases is also getting lower. The count of active COVID-19 cases reached 5,098, including 389 in severe condition.

Morocco's vaccinated population is on the way to exceed 4 million beneficiaries.

The number of beneficiaries reached 3,961, 941 as of March 8.

Meanwhile, the number of people who received the second dose of the vaccine has reached 651, 351.


Covid-19: Partial lockdown extended to 19 provinces from Tuesday

ALGIERS- The Government, on the instruction of President of the Republic Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has decided to extend by 15 days the partial lockdown from 22:00 to 05:00 on the next morning in 19 provinces starting Tuesday, March 2, as part of the measures to manage the health crisis related to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the Prime Minister's office said Monday in a statement.


Health Ministry outlines standard COVID measures for public, private institutions

AMMAN - The Ministry of Health announced the standard measures to be taken in the event that a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case appears in a public or private institution, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The procedures include granting a 10-day leave for any infected employee who does now show any symptoms.

Employees suffering from mild symptoms shall isolate themselves for a period of 13 days, provided that the last three days are without symptoms. After recovery, the employee can return to work without undergoing a PCR test.

The ministry emphasised that all institutions must be equipped to quickly respond to the existence of any case of COVID-19, as the situation may escalate into an outbreak.

An outbreak is defined as the presence of three or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 among workers during a period of two weeks.

Institutions must inform the concerned directorate of health affairs in the event that one or more infections appear, and the concerned directorate suspends working hours and closes the institution for a period of 24 hours for the purpose of sterilisation.

In cooperation with the institution's administration, the directorate will limit the number of employees who came in direct contact with the infected (face-to-face contact for 15 minutes, for a distance of 1.5 metres and less).

According to the procedures, the institution must inform its direct contact employees to quarantine themselves for a period of 10 days with the coronavirus testing done twice.

The first test will take place when the infection is discovered and the second test will take place before returning to work.

The directorate then assesses the epidemiological situation in the institution through a questionnaire to evaluate the degree of spread of the virus within the institution.

Accordingly, the continuity of work at the institution is decided.

The institution is required to meet 80 per cent of the conditions stipulated in the questionnaire.

If the institution fails to comply with the recommendations of the directorate or is closed down for more than 24 hours, the directorate reports the violation to the Infectious Diseases Department.

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