A new report has revealed that as many as 150 members of the royal family of Saudi Arabia might have been infected with the novel coronavirus, as per a source close to the clan.
According to The New York Times report, the governor of Riyadh, Saudi Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is currently in the intensive care as he undergoing treatment for COVID-19.
While King Salman (84) has isolated himself in an island on the Red Sea, his son crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (33) has also fallen back on the same coast with some of his ministers.
The report added that an internal ‘high alert’ notice has also been sent out by the hospital officials because of which as many as 500 beds are being prepared to tackle the possible influx.
The New York Times has obtained a copy of the notice sent out by the operators of the King Faisal Hospital, an elite institution that treats the royal family, to senior doctors across the country.
“We don’t know how many cases we will get but high alert,” the directive said. It further said that only “top urgent cases” will be taken in and any staffer would receive treatment at any lesser elite facility.
The first positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the kingdom more than six weeks ago. But even before that higher authorities had banned travel to the country and closed down pilgrimages from early March.
The nation has reported over 2,700 cases and 41 deaths due to the virus till now. It has been put under strict lockdown but the spread of the virus in the royal family indicates towards a much higher infection rate.
There are thousands of royals in Saudi Arabia, many of whom regularly traverse various European nations. Like many other countries, the coronavirus is believed to have entered Saudi Arabia through any elite traveller.
Neighbouring country Iran has also reported thousands of cases with many officials also succumbing to COVID-19.