Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Staff members of Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat seen at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on October 19, 2020. Erekat is hospitalized at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital after being infected with COVID-19.

The condition of Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Saeb Erekat has taken a turn for the worse, according to the administration of Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, where he is hospitalized in critical condition with COVID-19 since last week.

“His lung function has been reduced by the effect of COVID-19 infection on the background of previous lung transplantation. The treatment team has also identified fungal infection (Aspergillus) in the lungs, which is being actively treated with antifungal therapy,” the hospital said in a statement.
“His family was advised today that in addition to these medical issues, there has also been some deterioration in other organ systems as is commonly seen in critically ill patients with COVID-19.”

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Erekat was connected to an ECMO machine last Tuesday to support his respiratory function, according to a statement from the hospital last Thursday. He has received concentrated convalescent plasma with high levels of anti-COVID antibodies, the hospital said previously in its treatment update.

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A top-ranking official in the Fatah central committee and the former chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, Erekat underwent a lung transplant in the United States three years ago, after more than a year of treatment under the care of Israeli medical teams for a deadly lung disease. On October 9, Erekat announced he had contracted the coronavirus.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.