New Delhi: A total of about 150 members of the Saudi Arabian royal family are now believed to have contracted the COVID-19 virus — striking fear in the hearts of the powerful rulers.
The 70-year-old nephew of King Salman and the governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is confirmed to be in intensive care. The 34-year-old Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is widely considered to be the real power behind the crown, and his ministers have been in quarantine near the Red Sea. His father, King Salman (84) is in precautionary isolation near the city of Jeddah a report states.
Several dozen members of the royal family have been in a sick condition as well. An internal ‘high alert’ notice has also been sent out by the elite hospital (that treats al-Saud clan members) officials of which more than 500 beds are being prepared to get a grip on the possible influx. All the sick staff members will be treated in a less elite hospital to make room for the royals.
The princes of Saudi Arabia regularly traverse various European nations and are believed to have caught the pathogens during any of such visits.
The death toll of the country has reached 41 with 2,795 cases of virus infections that have been reported this Thursday. The country though has been put under strict lockdown but the virus spread in the inner sanctum of Saudi Arabia points towards a much higher infection rate. This has even caused the likely cancellation of the annual hajj pilgrimage which was scheduled for this summer. This annual pilgrimage which is a pillar of the Islamic faith draws 2.5 million Muslims to Mecca has taken place every year without fail since 1798.
Also due to the health emergency, a two-week cease-fire with Yemen was declared on Thursday, which has been fighting Iran-backed rebels on behalf of the country’s president since 2015.
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