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Likud MK David Bitan hospitalized in intensive care with coronavirus

Lawmaker receiving medical treatment after suffering a drop in oxygen levels

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 lawmaker David Bitan was hospitalized when his oxygen levels fell, it was announced on Sunday, days after it was revealed that he had contracted the coronavirus.

Bitan, 60, was taken for treatment at the Sheba Medical Center in the central city of Ramat Gan on Saturday evening. According to Hebrew-language media reports, he was in intensive care.

A statement released on behalf of Bitan said that he had received treatment at home in recent days but was hospitalized after his oxygen saturation levels dropped.

The decision to take the lawmaker to the hospital was made in consultation with a physician, the statement read.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and MK David Bitan at a Likud party rally in Tel Aviv on August 9, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

It was announced last Monday by the Knesset Guard that Bitan had tested positive for the virus.

“I feel fine, I have only mild symptoms,” Bitan said of his condition in a Twitter post.

The parliament said it was tracing Bitan’s contacts but no information was offered on where he is believed to have become infected.

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

Bitan, who chairs the Knesset’s Immigration and Absorption Committee, was among the politicians who greeted new immigrants from Ethiopia a few days prior to his diagnosis.

That ceremony was also attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, and other senior government officials, though the politicians wore masks at the outdoor welcoming event at Ben Gurion Airport.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second left, and his wife Sarah, third left, greet members of the Ethiopian Jewish community as they arrive at Ben Gurion airport, outside Tel Aviv, on December 3, 2020. (Amos Ben Gershon/GPO)

Netanyahu’s office said he would not self-isolate, as he was exposed to Bitan for under 15 minutes, according to Channel 13.

Likud MK Miki Zohar announced that he was entering quarantine after meeting with Bitan on Thursday.

Bitan joins a handful of 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, and Shas MK Yinon Azoulay.

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