MORE than six weeks after Saudi Arabia reported its first coronavirus (Covid-19) case, the disease has struck the Saudi Royal family. Around 150 members of the 15,000-plus Royal family are reported to be infected with Covid-19. King Salman’s nephew, 70-year-old Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is also Governor of Riyadh, is reported to be in intensive care.
The most powerful man in the oil world, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and his ministers are said to be under quarantine at a location near the Red Sea. His 84-year-old father, King Salman Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is reported to be in isolation near the city of Jeddah. It’s believed that the Saudi princes contracted the virus during their visit to Europe and have unknowlingly spread it to their many relatives upon their return.
Doctors at the elite hospital which treats the Royal family members are reported to preparing around 500 beds for an expected influx of other royals and those closest to them, according to an internal ‘high alert’ email sent out by hospital officials, according to the New York Times. “We don’t know how many cases we will get but high alert… all chronic patients to be moved out ASAP…” according to the note. The note added that only ‘top urgent cases’ will be accepted at the hospital.
Saudi Arabia has so far has reported 65 deaths from the coronavirus and 4,934 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah warned last week that the worst is yet to come. “Within the next few weeks, studies predict the number of infections will range from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 200,000,” he stated.