Saudi Arabia has reported 41 deaths from the coronavirus and 2,795 confirmed cases, but the COVID-19 infection invaded the royal family, too. The senior Saudi prince who is governor of Riyadh is in intensive care with the coronavirus, NewAgeWorld reported on Thursday.
The infection and treatment of the governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, was confirmed by two doctors with ties to the elite hospital and two others close to the royal family.
A former military officer believed to be in his late 70s, he is a nephew of King Salman and a grandson of the founder of the modern kingdom.
Several dozen other members of the royal family have been sickened as well. And 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.
King Salman promised to cover any treatment for each and every coronavirus patient on Saudi soil
Last week, the king of Saudi Arabia promised personally that all Saudis and any foreigner with the coronavirus, regardless of visa or residency status, will be treated in a proper way. All expenses will be covered by the state treasury. The most important moment under pandemic times is minimizing the possibility of virus spreading, said the Saudi monarch.
In fact, Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country where undocumented and irregular migrant workers are largely denied access to government healthcare. Since last week that the government promised to provide treatment in case of the novel virus.
In early March, to avoid virus contamination, Saudi Arabia began restricting travel and shut down pilgrimages to Makkah even before the kingdom had reported its first case.
The order came after the rapid spread of the virus was reported among the migrant workers, who make up about a third of the kingdom’s population of roughly 33 million, and the royal family, reports the New York Times.
Saudi Arabia’s health ministry: epidemic just getting started
Reporting on new cases, the health minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah has warned Tuesday that the COVID-19 outbreak was just getting started. The number of infections over the next few weeks ‘will range from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 200,000’.
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 New York Times said.
As many as 150 royals in the kingdom are now believed to have contracted the pathogen, including members of its lesser branches, according to a person close to the family.
The 84-year-old King Salman 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.