Senior PLO Official Saeb Erekat, Hospitalized in Israel With COVID-19, in Critical Condition

Jack Khoury
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Dr. Saeb Erekat in Ramallah, 2019.
Dr. Saeb Erekat in Ramallah, 2019.Credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/Reuters
Jack Khoury

The health of Dr. Saeb Erekat, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, has deterioriated Monday morning and he is now a critical condition, says Hadassah Medical Center.

Dr. Erekat was transferred to an intensive care unit at the Israeli hospital Sunday night and is anesthetized and on a ventilator.

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His treatment, the hospital said, is a "huge challenge" because he underwent a lung transplant three years ago and has a "weakened immune system and bacterial infection in addition to coronavirus." 

The senior Palestinian statesman, who is 65-years-old, 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 underlying health conditions," a statement from his office said.

He announced about a week and a half ago that he was diagnosed with coronavirus, and had been staying at his home in Jericho ever since.  In an interview with Palestinian television before the transplant, he said of the difficulties of the disease: "I need oxygen. I can not go and wait every day for a lung transplant. I gave my destiny to God." He added, "I can not say I am not afraid and I am not afraid, and I hope he will help me. If God decides otherwise and he wants to take my soul, then I am ready too."

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