However, Malek al-Moosa, the hospital’s general manager, denied this suggestion and said he believed the patients were in fact exposed to a common source of the virus outside the hospital.
Fukukda said it was not yet clear how the virus was transmitted.
Of the four members of the al-Sheikh family who fell sick, only one, Abdullah al-Sheikh, 33, has so far tested positive for novel coronavirus.
Samples from Mohammed, Hussein and Hanan are still being tested, but al-Moosa said it was likely that they also had the virus.
A poster-sized portrait of Mohammed al-Sheikh, a 56-year-old former employee of the national oil company Saudi Aramco, is displayed in the Sheikh family’s reception room, where three of his 10 children sat to describe what they call the “calamity” that has hit their family.
“Our father’s dream was that we should all live in one house with a big garden. He had started building it and finished almost 50 percent. This is just killing us,” Hussein said.