Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have both gone into isolation after 150 members of the royal family including Saudi Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud tested positive for Coronavirus, according to new reports.
Saudi Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the governor of the capital Riyadh who is in his 70s – is in intensive care after contracting the virus, according to The New York Times, which cited hospital communications, doctors in the country and sources familiar with the family.
Salman, 84, secluded himself on an island palace near Jeddah, while the crown prince quarantined to a remote site on the Red Sea coast.
Doctors at the elite King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh that treats members of the royal family are preparing 500 more beds for an expected influx of patients.
The operators of the facility said:
“Directives are to be ready for VIPs from around the country,” the operators of the elite facility, the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, wrote in a “high alert” sent out electronically on Tuesday to senior doctors and later obtained by the Times.
“We don’t know how many cases we will get but high alert,” said the message, which instructed “all chronic patients to be moved out ASAP” and only “top urgent cases” will be accepted, according to the newspaper.
Saudi princes travel regularly to Europe and some are believed to have contracted the virus abroad and brought it back to Saudi Arabia, the report said.
Saudi Arabia is expecting up to 200,000 coronavirus cases within weeks, the country’s health minister said on Tuesday.
‘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,’ said minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah, according to state media.
Rabiah, who warned the kingdom faces a ‘critical moment’ in the fight against the virus, said the projection was based on four studies by Saudi and international experts.
Some Saudi cities including the capital Riyadh are under a 24-hour curfew imposed by the interior minister.