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Top Palestinian official Erekat's health worsens after contracting virus

This photo taken on March 3, 2020, shows Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and chief Palestinian negotiator, talking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah
This photo taken on March 3, 2020, shows Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and chief Palestinian negotiator, talking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah AFP/File
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Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Long-time chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, diagnosed with coronavirus, was being hospitalised in Israel on Sunday after his condition worsened, the Palestine Liberation Organization and his brother said.

The PLO said in a statement that "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."

"His situation is not good," Saber Erekat told AFP, adding that his brother was being taken to the Rabin Medical Centre in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva, outside Tel Aviv.

Erekat underwent lung-transplant surgery in the United States in 2017.

The 65-year-old has been a key figure in Palestinian politics for decades, often serving as a main interlocutor for foreign envoys and the international media.

He has consistently voiced support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Jerusalem-born Erekat serves as the PLO's secretary-general and remains a stalwart presence in the inner circle of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

There have been 42,490 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the occupied West Bank, including 381 deaths.

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