Coronavirus widespread among Saudi royal family, up to 150 infected, claims NYT | World


Saudi King Shah Salman. photo: file

RIYADH: More than six weeks after the Kingdom reported its first case of coronavirus, the contagion has now infected several members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family, according to a New York Times report.

As many as 150 royals in the kingdom are now believed to have contracted the virus, claimed the report published on Thursday.

Read also: Saudi Arabia might reach 200,000 coronavirus infections: health minister

According to the publication, a senior prince – who is also Riyadh’s governor – is in intensive care. Dozens of other members of the family have fallen sick due to the COVID-19, the publication adds.

As a precautionary measure, doctors at an elite hospital that treat Al-Saud clan members are preparing as many as 500 beds for an expected influx of other royals and those closest to them, according to an internal “high alert” sent out by hospital officials.

“Directives are to be ready for VIPs from around the country,” the operators of the elite facility, the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, wrote in the alert.

“We don’t know how many cases we will get, but high alert,” the message stated, instructing that “all chronic patients to be moved out ASAP,” and that only “top urgent cases” will be accepted.

King Salman, 84, has secluded himself for safety in an island palace near the city of Jeddah on the Red Sea, while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 34-year-old de facto ruler, has retreated with many of his ministers to a remote site on the same coast.

Saudi Arabia has so far reported 3,115 cases of confirmed infections from the virus and over 40 deaths, according to the data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

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