RAMALLAH, (Palestinian Territories): Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was rushed to an Israeli hospital Sunday for coronavirus treatment, Palestinian officials said, with medics saying he was in "serious... but stable" condition. The Palestine Liberation Organisation said 65-year-old Erekat was transferred to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, rather than a facility in Tel Aviv as reported earlier.
"Following his contraction of Covid-19, and due to the chronic health problems he faces in the respiratory system, Dr Erekat's condition now requires medical attention in a hospital," it said in a statement.
"His situation is not good," his brother Saber Erekat told AFP.
The PLO said on October 19 that he had tested positive for the virus. Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital said Erekat was taken to their coronavirus intensive care unit at the request of officials in the Palestinian Authority. "He arrived in serious condition and needed support and high doses of oxygen," a statement from Hadassah said. "In recent hours he's in serious condition, but stable."
There have been 42,490 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the West Bank, including 381 deaths.
Erekat, who lives in the biblical town of Jericho in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, underwent lung-transplant surgery in the United States in 2017. He has been a key figure in Palestinian politics for decades, often serving as a main interlocutor for foreign envoys and the international media. He has consistently voiced support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Jerusalem-born Erekat serves as the PLO's secretary-general and remains a stalwart presence in the inner circle of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.