Likud MK on life support as Israel’s corona deaths top 3,000

On Saturday, Bitan was admitted to the intensive care unit at Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan after his symptoms worsened.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Likud MK David Bitan has been placed on a life support machine due to worsening respiratory symptoms from his battle with the coronavirus, his representatives said via Twitter on Monday.

The Moroccan-born MK announced last week that he tested positive for the virus, but said in a statement that his symptoms were mild and he felt “fine.”

On Saturday, Bitan was admitted to the intensive care unit at Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan after his symptoms worsened. Bitan has previously been treated for coronary heart disease.

He was placed on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (EMCO) machine, which functions as an artificial lung for people suffering from viral pneumonia linked to COVID-19.

In a statement, the hospital said, “On the recommendation of the medical team, a decision was taken to place MK Bitan [on] the ECMO machine while fully conscious. He continues to communicate with his surroundings, his condition still serious but stable. His family would like to thank the medical team and the many friends who have expressed concern.”

Last Sunday, Biton attended an event welcoming newly arrived Ethiopian Jewish immigrants with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Because the prime minister was near Bitan for less than 15 minutes, Netanyahu will not have to quarantine.

But several senior government officials, including Likud coalition Chair Miki Zohar, who have met with Bitan in recent days will need to enter quarantine.

“I thought I had the flu and nothing more. I did not have a fever, and my cough had phlegm. It started on Thursday night. I met people after that, but I thought I had the flu,” Bitan told Channel 12 News.

The Health Ministry criticized Bitan’s conduct, saying that guidelines instructing citizens to stay home when they feel unwell are clear.

“How is it possible that an elected official is unaware of the guidelines,” a Health Ministry official told Channel 12 News.

“Due to the fact that he was infected, about 30 people, including three MKs, went into quarantine.”

The news of Bitan’s deteriorating condition coincided with the Jewish state reaching 3,000 coronavirus deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in Israel in February 2020.

With a total of 358,000 reported cases, Israel has one of the world’s lowest death rates from the virus.