South African footballer Ben Motshwari has recovered from COVID-19 and warns that it is a virus not to be underestimated.
The Orlando Pirates star is the only player in the Premier Soccer League who has publicly stated his positive test, but a month on has now had two negative tests to confirm his recovery.
“This is a reality that we all must come to terms with,” he told the Pirates website. “Having experienced what I have gone through this past month, I would like to encourage people to take heed of the messages of social distancing; the washing of hands and also those wearing a mask when in public.
“The only way we can beat this thing is to adhere to these safety measures and not underestimate this pandemic.”
It has been a difficult time for Motshwari, 29, who will shortly return to light training having been unable to join his teammates in their isolation programmes due to his illness.
He admits the mental battle has been as difficult as the physical one.
“I would like to thank everybody for the words of support during my time off. It wasn’t easy but the words of encouragement that I received is what kept me going. So, thank you all, I really appreciate it,” he said.
“My initial response to the news that I had contracted coronavirus, was complete shock.
“It’s not something you expect especially being a young and healthy athlete. We tend to think these things happen to other people other than ourselves, but I learned very quickly that this isn’t necessarily the case.
“The coronavirus does not discriminate, it doesn’t care who you are.”
Meanwhile, supporters in all COSAFA nations are urged to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which include:
Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.