Turkey: Academic who beat virus urges all to stay put

A sign warning against all but essential travel and urging people to stay at home is seen at a London Underground station in London on March 30, 2020. (AFP Photo)

Newly recovered from coronavirus, the rector of an Istanbul University has a simple but powerful message to share: Stay put, for the sake of those you love and the entire world.

"Please don't leave your homes," said Sondan Durukanoğlu Feyiz, the rector of Kadir Has University in the Turkish metropolis. "Don't think of this as being trapped at home, but think that you're together with your loved ones."

Weeks ago Feyiz was diagnosed with COVID-19 after developing a high fever, feeling extremely cold and shaking, but now has recovered.

As a university rector, she has to meet lots of people, from many places, "so it's hard to know where I caught the virus from," Feyiz told Anadolu Agency.

"After these first symptoms, I started having terrible leg pains. Finally, I went to the hospital on March 13. I was certain it wasn't the ordinary flu. And I've been watching the news for days, I knew there was a possibility of COVID-19."

After taking the test for the virus, she continued, "I isolated myself in the attic of our house. We started the treatment while waiting for the test results. When I first heard I was positive, I was shaken. I knew how serious the situation is. But all data shows that 80% of those testing positive for COVID-19 recover from the illness with mild symptoms. I eat well, I exercise two or three times a week and have no chronic illness, so I thought I could be among this 80%."

Her husband started showing symptoms the next day, but not her son. Later, though, her son also tested positive, but without any symptoms.

Feyiz said her husband has recovered from the virus and her son is also in quarantine. "We keep our social distance, my son is in a different house. We keep eating healthy and sleeping regularly."

Feyiz said it is very important to not take medicine without consulting a doctor, warning that if used irresponsibly, such drugs "could have fatal consequences."

"Along with the medicines, I took vitamins B and C every day. I would like to thank all health personnel in Haseki Hospital in Istanbul. We really can't pay our debts to health officials," she said.

Feyiz pleaded with everyone to stay at home, "Especially young people, just like my son, you might be carrying the virus and endangering other people's lives. Please stay at home, and keep your social distance. Exercise, and eat well. Most importantly, keep learning something new."

She said keeping good morale is one of the key weapons in fighting the virus. "We should never lose hope. We shouldn't focus on bad scenarios only. We should still take all precautions, but keep morale high," she urged.

Turkey has 9,217 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the death toll stands at 131.

The novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December. There are currently more than 732,000 cases worldwide and over 34,000 reported deaths with nearly 155,000 recoveries, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

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