Saudi Arabia: Up to 150 royals infected with novel coronavirus

At least 500 beds are being prepared at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, to treat the sick Saudi royals suffering from Covid-19

About 150 members of the Saudi royal family are suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus.

The kingdom reported its first case of the new coronavirus on March 2. In just over a month, the country has reported 2,932 confirmed cases and 41 fatalities.

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman
Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman Reuters

As many as 150 members of the Saudi royal family have contracted the novel coronavirus, New York Times reported. Those infected include King Salman's nephew and governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is lodged in the intensive care unit.

What is being done to treat the sick Saudi royals?

To treat the sick royal family members, the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, which treats the Al-Saud clan members, is preparing as many as 500 beds. "Directives are to be ready for V.I.P.s from around the country," the hospital said in an alert sent electronically to the senior doctors, on Tuesday, April 7 night.

"We don't know how many cases we will get but on high alert," it stated. The message instructed "all chronic patients to be moved out ASAP," and that only "top urgent cases" will be accepted. Also, the sick staff members, if any, would be treated at less elite hospitals.

King Salman (84) has been isolated in an island palace near the city of Jeddah on the Red Sea. Prince Mohammad bin Salman (34), has lodged himself along with several of his ministers, at a remote site on the coast where he has promised to build a futuristic city 'Neom'.

Steps taken by Saudi Arabia to deal with novel coronavirus pandemic

The country has suspended all air and land travel in and out of the country. Similar inter-province travel restrictions have been put in place. Pilgrimages to the Islamic holy sites at Mecca and Medina have been suspended.

Umrah pilgrimages, which can be undertaken at any time of the year, have been suspended. Authorities have indicated about a similar suspension of the annual hajj pilgrimage, set to begin on July 28 and conclude on August 2.

Hajj -- the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca draws millions of Muslims to Islam's holiest site. It's a mandatory religious duty that needs to be undertaken by all Muslims, once in their lifetime.

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