Israel abandons suspected Palestinian coronavirus patient at West Bank checkpoint

Israel abandons suspected Palestinian coronavirus patient at West Bank checkpoint
A Palestinian man collapsed after being abandoned at a West Bank checkpoint by Israeli authorities.
2 min read
24 March, 2020
Palestinian bystanders called an ambulance for the man [AFP]
Israeli police abandoned a Palestinian patient suspected of suffering from the novel coronavirus at a West Bank checkpoint on Monday.

The man, identified as Malek, was taken to a Tel Aviv hospital after falling ill with coronavirus symptoms at work but was later thrown out of the hospital by police officers who did not coordinate his transfer to a Palestinian hospital, Haaretz reported.

Malek was treated for his symptoms and tested for coronavirus after being taken to the Ichilov hospital by his employer.

A hospital guard then reported him to the police on suspicion of being in Israel without a work permit, Malek told Haaretz.

Police officers handcuffed him and then "threw him out" at the Maccabim checkpoint into the West Bank before he was able to collect his coronavirus test results, he said.

Israeli authorities are generally required to coordinate patient transfers between hospitals in the country and the West Bank, but no such effort was made in this case nor did the police call a Palestinian ambulance to collect Malek from the checkpoint.

Malek said he had a fever and was too weak to stand when the police dropped him at the checkpoint, eventually leading to his collapse while waiting for an ambulance called by Palestinian bystanders.

A video published by local news agency Maan showed Malek laying on the ground before being collected by Palestinian paramedics.

The police told Haaretz: "Police arrived at the scene in proper protective gear and took him to the Maccabim checkpoint since he had been in Israel illegally."

"He was released at the checkpoint in a respectful manner after a stop was put to the violation of the law, as required," the police claimed.

Malek was later tested again for the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus, for which he tested negative.

Israel currently has 1,930 confirmed coronavirus cases, including three fatalities, while the Palestinian Authority has reported 60 cases, including two in the besieged Gaza Strip.

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