As the coronavirus outbreak continues to sweep the entire globe, at least 150 people from Saudi Arabia royal family are believed to have contracted the fatal COVID-19. After nearly six weeks since the Kingdom confirmed its first case of coronavirus infection, an internal message of The Elite Medical and Surgical Center in Riyadh seen by an international media outlet revealed that the hospital is currently preparing 500 beds to treat a foreseeable influx of COVID-19 patients from the royal family and cited “extreme alert”
First reported by the New York Times on April 8, the directives have been given to hospital authorities that treats the members from Al-Saud clan “for VIPs around the country”. Meanwhile, a senior Saudi prince, governor of Riyadh is currently in the intensive care unit with coronavirus infection along with several dozens of others of the royal family who have also contracted COVID-19. The directive reportedly even said that sick members from the hospital’s staff would now be treated at an apparently less elite hospital to make space for the ones from the royal family.
In the wake of the pandemic, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, king and prime minister of Saudi Arabia has kept himself in self-isolation in an island palace closer to the city of Jeddah on the Red Sea. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his son, along with the 34-year-old de facto ruler have quarantined with several other ministers to a secluded site on the same island. According to reports, this is the same island where the kingdom’s rulers have pledged to build a futuristic city called Neom.
As of April 9, Saudi Arabia has confirmed at least 2,932 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with at least 41 fatalities due to limited testing. After originating from China’s “wet markets”, the coronavirus has now claimed over 88,516 lives worldwide. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 209 countries and has infected at least 1,518,970 people. Out of the total infections, 330,697 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries and the economy is struggling.
Image Source: AP