‘I was close to death’: MK David Bitan leaves hospital after 2-month COVID fight

Likud lawmaker, who fell seriously ill in December, urges public to ‘take the disease seriously’; presents ruling party’s electoral slate

Likud MK David Bitan at the Knesset, on January 15, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussil/Flash90)
Likud MK David Bitan at the Knesset, on January 15, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussil/Flash90)

Likud MK David Bitan, who had been seriously ill for two months with COVID-19 and had spent two spells in intensive care, was released from the hospital Thursday after recovering from the disease, saying he had been close to dying and urging the public to take COVID seriously.

Bitan filed the slate for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling party in the upcoming election with the Central Elections Committee later Thursday evening, shortly before the midnight deadline.

After the Likud lawmaker left Ramat Gan’s Sheba Medical Center, Bitan’s spokesperson said: “A long rehabilitation process awaits him and he will have to go to the rehabilitation ward at Tel Hashomer several times a week.”

Speaking to the Kan public broadcaster as he arrived at the Knesset, Bitan said he was “beyond grateful” to the medical professionals who looked after him.

“We went through it, we got out of it,” Bitan said. ”The doctors said I was close to death… I urge people to take the disease seriously.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud MK David Bitan at a Likud faction meeting at the Knesset, on November 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Last month, Bitan went back into intensive care just a week after his condition had improved and he was taken off a machine that was assisting his heart and lungs.

He had been hospitalized in December when his oxygen levels fell, days after it was revealed that he had contracted the coronavirus.

According to Channel 12 news, Bitan had continued to meet with people prior to his diagnosis despite feeling unwell and suffering from a cough. Around 30 people were reportedly forced to quarantine as a result of the MK not following the instruction to stay home when feeling unwell.

Bitan is among almost a dozen lawmakers and ministers who have contracted the virus, including then-health minister Yaakov Litzman, Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Rafi Peretz, Deputy Interior Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur, MK Yinon Azoulay, MK Yisrael Eichler, and MK Hila Shay-Vazan.

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