COVID-19 at Saudi royal family; 150 believed to have contracted

As many as 150 royals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are now believed to have contracted the virus, including members of its lesser branches, according to a person close to the family.

Iran PressMiddle East:  More than six weeks after Saudi Arabia reported its first case, the coronavirus is striking at the heart of the kingdom’s sprawling royal family.

The senior Saudi prince who is the governor of Riyadh is in the intensive care unit (ICU) with the coronavirus.

Several dozen other members of the royal family have been sickened as well. In addition, doctors at the elite hospital that treats 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 V.I.P.s from around the country,” the operators of the elite facility, the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, wrote in the alert, sent electronically Tuesday night to senior doctors. The New York Times obtained a copy.

“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. It said any sick staff members would now be treated at a less elite hospital to make room for the royals.

More than six weeks after Saudi Arabia reported its first case, the coronavirus is striking terror into the heart of the kingdom’s royal family.

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

Saudi Arabia announced 327 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday bringing the total number of cases in the Kingdom to 2,932.

The figure for the number of coronavirus cases recorded on April 7 includes the 190 people who were reported as having the virus at midday on Tuesday, and a further 137 people who tested positive after midday, Arab News reported.

There have been 41 deaths from the virus in the Kingdom so far.

The country has the highest number of coronavirus infections in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia's Health Minister says its coronavirus cases could reach up to 200,000.


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