Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Israel on Sunday for treatment of a worsening case of COVID-19, the Palestine Liberation Organization said.
Witnesses said Erekat, 65, was on a stretcher when he was placed inside an Israeli ambulance outside his home in Jericho, in the occupied West Bank. Erekat, who is also secretary-general of the PLO, disclosed on Oct. 8 that he had contracted coronavirus.
He was rushed to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman said Erekat was in a serious but stable condition. He needed high-flow oxygen support and was being treated in an intensive care ward for coronavirus patients.
There is heightened concern over Erekat’s vulnerability to the illness because he underwent a lung transplant in the United States in 2017.
“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,” the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department said in a statement.
A member of Fatah, the most powerful faction within the PLO, Erekat has been one of the most high-profile faces of the Palestinian leadership for decades, especially to international audiences.