Like hundreds of thousands of people around the world, the super-rich are preparing to isolate themselves in the face of an escalation in the crisis of the coronavirus. But their plans go far beyond the stock of hand sanitizers.
The richest people in the world are chartering private jets to leave for vacation homes or bunkers specially prepared in countries that, so far, seem to have prevented the worst of the coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19).
Many are said to be taking doctors or nurses on their flights to treat them and their families in case they become infected. The wealthy are also besieging doctors at private clinics on Harley Street, London and around the world, demanding private tests for coronavirus.
To avoid limited testing facilities, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) said it would only test people with a “high chance” of having the disease – meaning people who have had close contact with a confirmed case or have recently been to a high-risk country.
Mark Ali, chief executive and medical director of the Harley Street Private Clinic, said:
This has led to a huge demand from very wealthy people, asking if they could pay for private tests. Unfortunately, we cannot offer tests, as the NHS has stated that all tests must be done centrally.
The Department of Health and Social Care has determined that all tests must be performed by the NHS and Public Health England (PHE).
However, an employee at another Harley Street clinic, who declined to be identified, said his clinic had arranged for concerned customers to be tested in other countries or for samples to be sent abroad for testing.
There, a cardiovascular surgeon, said his clients had asked for vaccination against Covid-19, although scientists said it would take at least a year before the vaccine was developed.
[Covid-19] certainly fired up people’s reactions. We have given a lot general flu vaccines and consultations to people wanting to talk in detail about their health and lifestyle.
Ali said his clinic was also offering the worried wealthy an intravenous infusion of vitamins and minerals to boost their immune systems.
We know that 90% of adults have a vitamin deficiency – what better to improve it than an IV immune booster? An intravenous infusion ensures instant and optimal delivery of these nutrients to the cells of the body and the nutrients must include vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B12 complex, glutathione, zinc and essential amino acids such as arginine, taurine, lysine and citrulline.
Ken Langone, co-founder of the chain Home Depot, knew where to turn when seeking medical advice on the outbreak. The 84-year-old billionaire called an executive and scientist at NYU Langone Health, the New York hospital named after him and which he chairs.
He told the Bloomberg:
What they told me about people who are smarter than me in the disease is: ‘Right now, it’s bad flu’.
Adam Twidell, chief executive of the private jet reservation service PrivateFly, said his company continues to see a jump in reserves, while wealthy people organize evacuation flights from high-risk countries.
Many are from groups that include elderly passengers or people with health problems that particularly concern them with exposure to crowds on airline flights. We just took a group back to London from the south of France, with an immunocompromised passenger on board.
Twidell said other wealthy customers were organizing flights outside the UK and other European countries, before the possible introduction of quarantine measures across the country, following Italy’s lead.
Quintessentially, the concierge for millionaires, he said members who could not afford private jets had requested access to private airport waiting rooms to avoid the risk of interacting with large numbers of people traveling.
A company spokesman said:
People who are traveling commercially are choosing to book elite services at airports, not in their typical first-class lounge. For example, private terminals where guests are welcomed and given their own suite. Check-in, customs and security are done privately and guests are taken to the aircraft doors. Members can request that the pier be cleared to minimize interactions with other passengers en route to the seat.
Quintessentially said one of its members had converted his home into a “military-style bunker” and was refusing visitors unless they could provide detailed records of his movements and contacts.
Robert Vicino, founder and chief executive of Vivos Group, a California company that builds underground shelters designed to withstand a range of natural disasters and catastrophes, said its company has seen an increase in consultations and sales since the crisis occurred.
Vivos has converted one bunker of the Cold War in Indiana in accommodation for 80 people and offers space in 575 bunkers of concrete in an abandoned World War II war material depot in South Dakota.