Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat was in critical condition Monday after he was hospitalized for coronavirus at Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, the Jerusalem hospital said Monday.
The 65-year-old veteran diplomat was also put on ventilator after experiencing respiratory difficulties.
There is heightened concern over Erekat's vulnerability to the illness because he underwent a lung transplant in the United States in 2017.
“Erekat had a quiet night but this morning his condition deteriorated and is now defined as critical, and due to respiratory distress he was intubated and sedated,” the hospital said in a statement.
“Erekat poses a huge challenge in the treatment of the coronavirus due to his lung transplant and its suppression of the immune system, and with a bacterial infection in addition to the coronavirus,” the hospital said.
“Hadassah, with its most senior professional physicians, is in contact with international medical professionals regarding such a complex patient care policy.”
A member of Fatah, the most powerful faction within the PLO, Erekat has been one of the most high-profile members of the Palestinian leadership for decades, and especially familiar to international audiences having acted as de facto spokesperson for the PA.
Erekat is also one of the most senior advisers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and also served in top positions under Abbas' predecessor, Yasser Arafat.
His negotiating days date back to the earliest public negotiations with Israel in 1991 at the Madrid Conference during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, when Erekat was part of the PLO team.