Senior PLO Official Saeb Erekat Transferred to Israeli Hospital

Erekat was diagnosed with coronavirus earlier this month, and his condition deteriorated due to chronic respiratory health issues ■ On Sunday night, his daughter tweeted that his condition is 'stable'

Jack Khoury
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Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat looks on during a news conference following a meeting with foreign diplomats in Ramallah, West Bank, January 30, 2019.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat looks on during a news conference following a meeting with foreign diplomats in Ramallah, West Bank, January 30, 2019. Credit: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters
Jack Khoury

Dr. Saeb Erekat, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, was transferred from his home in the West Bank to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem near Jerusalem on Sunday "in light of his infection with the coronavirus and his pre-existing health conditions," a statement from his office said Sunday.

Hadassah's spokesperson issued a statement on Sunday night regarding Erekat's status, saying that as of "the past few hours, he is in a difficult but stable condition," and that when he arrived to the hospital, he was "in critical condition" and in need of "high-flow oxygen." 

The statement also noted that Erekat was admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit earlier in the day following requests made by Palestinian Authority officials to the Israeli government and the hospital's administration. In its statement, the hospital emphasized that Erekat is receiving the same degree of "high level of professional care" afforded to all severe coronavirus patients, and that the hospital "will continue to proide advanced medicine to all who come to its gates." 

Earlier on Sunday evening, Erekat's daughter, Dalal Iriqat, tweeted an update, saying that his "health is stable," and that "he needs special medical care for lung transplanted patients."  Just three years ago, in 2017, Erekat underwent a lung transplant in the United States, due to pulmonary fibrosis, which caused his health to deteriorate that year. Following his recovery from the surgery, Erekat, a veteran Palestinian statesman, resumed almost full activity.

Credit: Dalal IRIQAT

Earlier this month, the Secretariat of the PLO Executive Committee announced via Twitter that Erekat had tested positive for the coronavirus and that since contracting the virus, Erekat had been under the care of his family, particularly his daughter, a doctor, at his home in Jericho. However, his condition has since worsened, and so it was decided to transfer him to an Israeli hospital. 

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