Up to 150 members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family have contracted the coronavirus, a person close to the family told the New York Times.
Riyadh Governor Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulziz al Saud, a nephew of King Salman, was confirmed to have tested positive by two doctors, according to the Times. Many of the thousands of princes in the family are believed to have brought back the virus after traveling to Europe, the newspaper reported, citing doctors and people close to the family.
In a bid to avoid the outbreak, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) have gone into isolation.
Doctors at an elite hospital that treats royals are reportedly preparing 500 more beds for an expected influx of patients.
“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.
The kingdom has reported 2,932 cases and 41 deaths so far.