"I'm 28, I'm young, I'm sporty, I'm into the gym. I never would have thought I would have been so sick."
Micheal Prendergast was speaking from an isolation unit in Kerry General Hospital, after testing positive for Covid-19 shortly after returning from London. Issuing a plea to the public to stay indoors in a video shared online, he warned: “This virus is a killer.”
He said: “I have been so sick and so weak that I couldn’t raise my own head...I’ve been asking myself, ‘Have I been a good person, have I done enough in my life?’ There’s still so much I want to achieve’.”
Speaking to Sky News about his illness, he said: “It’s been harrowing, it’s been indescribable. This is just a warning to anyone out there. If you don’t get affected as bad as I have, I guarantee you that your parents, or your grandparents, or your aunts and uncles are going to be. This virus is a killer.”
Mr Prendergast is fit and, although he is asthmatic, he has not had an attack in years. He called on the Government to enact tighter controls to stop the spread of the disease.
He said: “It’s extremely disheartening to see people out and about, at gyms, at public places, at parties. I would call on the Government to take a proactive step, instead of reactive, to have tighter controls.
“The people won’t realise until they get it or until a family member has this virus, only then are they going to realise the truly destructive force of this virus. I do hope the Government makes a sensible and proactive decision.”
Mr Prendergast had been staying with his brother Padraig, who lives in London, when he is believed to have been infected with the disease.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Padraig said he urged his brother to return home to Ireland as quickly as possible due to growing fears that the NHS in the UK does not have the capacity to cope.
“Leo [Varadkar] had done the state of the nation address and all of that, so I said, ‘You need to go home.’ I just knew things were better in Ireland in terms of the response.”
Padraig, who is in self-isolation in London, said his brother battled pneumonia, a collapsed lung and pleurisy, but this was “by far and away the worst”. His mother Joan, who is in self-isolation in Kerry, is waiting on the results of a test for the virus. Last night he said his brother was now back home with their mother.
“It’s important we get the message out there because people aren’t listening,” said Padraig.