Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat contracts coronavirus

Saeb Erakat, the senior PLO leader, has been isolating in his occupied West Bank home after testing positive for the COVID-19.

Saeb Erekat
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has been a key figure in Palestinian politics for decades [File: Alex Wong/Getty Images]

Longtime chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a statement said on Thursday.

A statement on Twitter from the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee said Erekat, one of the most prominent Palestinian leaders on the world stage, “has been infected with COVID-19”.

The PLO “wishes him a speedy recovery,” it added.

Erekat is reportedly in isolation in his house in the West Bank city of Jericho and has experienced mild coronavirus symptoms.

However, he is considered at high risk for complications due to his medical history which includes surviving a mild heart attack in 2012 and a lung transplant in 2017.

Erekat had met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas only days ago, but all the officials who attended the meeting were tested and found to be negative, reported Palestinian media.

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.

The occupied West Bank has recorded more than 39,500 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 335 deaths.


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies