İrem UZUN -TDO- More than six weeks after Saudi Arabia reported its first case, the coronavirus is striking terror into the heart of the kingdom’s royal family. Up to 150 members of the Saudi royal family may have gotten infected with the coronavirus as reported by NY Times. Eighty-four-year old King Salman is thought to have secluded himself on an island palace near the city of Jeddah on the Red Sea while Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman has retreated to the same remote site on the same coast, with his ministers.
The senior Saudi prince who is governor of Riyadh is in intensive care with the coronavirus. Several dozen other members of the royal family have been sickened as well. And doctors at the elite hospital that treats Al-Saud clan members are preparing as many as 500 beds for an expected influx of other royals and those closest to them, according to an internal “high alert” sent out by hospital officials.
Saudi Arabia has more than 2,900 confirmed cases of the virus, including 41 deaths. This week, the kingdom began imposing a 24-hour curfew in the capital, Riyadh, and several other cities, including Jiddah and Mecca. It has already barred travel to and from Riyadh, Mecca and Medina, suspended prayers at mosques and closed Islam’s holiest sites to pilgrims to limit infections.
The infections are supposedly a key element in the Saudi decision to announce a ceasefire in Yemen, where Riyadh has been battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels on behalf of the country's deposed president since 2015.