Veteran Indian-origin British lawmaker Virendra Sharma on Tuesday urged everyone to strictly follow the government’s social distancing advice to help control the coronavirus pandemic as he revealed his own COVID-19 diagnosis and discharge from hospital.
The 72-year-old Opposition Labour MP for Ealing Southall in west London had revealed on Twitter that he was self-isolating after developing mild symptoms earlier this month. But his condition deteriorated as he began having trouble breathing, a major impact of COVID-19, and was admitted to his local Hillingdon Hospital for a week.
“Following my light coronavirus symptoms, my condition deteriorated and I was hospitalised. I have now been discharged from hospital and I am recovering well at home,” said Sharma.
“Now I am back home again and self-isolating, and following all the NHS [National Health Service] and government advice. I want to urge everyone else to do the same. Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives,” he said.
Sharma paid tribute to his local hospital for the “exceptional care” he received and also to the wider health service working hard at a time of immense pressure.
“The amazing men and women of the NHS working in almost impossible situations, with too little kit and too little support deserve our help. I am asking everyone of you to do what you can to help them,” he said.
Now back working from home, the MP reached out to his constituents to get in contact regarding any of their loved ones stranded abroad as the UK government announced a 75-million pound effort to charter special rescue flights to bring travellers back from countries under travel lockdowns, including India.
“Many people also have friends and family stranded abroad, and this is very worrying for everyone involved. Please rest assured I have been liaising with the Foreign Office on this matter, and my staff continued to work on this while I was in hospital,” he said.
Sharma’s update came as UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who had also gone into self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, revealed that he was “on the mend” and continued to work from home during his self-isolation.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also remains in self-isolation at 10 Downing Street after his coronavirus diagnosis, while Prince Charles continues to work from home as he came out of self-isolation on Monday, a week after his diagnosis.
The UK remains under strict stay-at-home social distancing rules and the government has said it is “ramping up” its testing capacity by buying “many millions” of tests to diagnose the infection as the death toll from the deadly virus hit 1,448 in the UK.