A Dubai resident who is in hospital battling coronavirus has highlighted the gravity of contracting it.
Shane Manning, 42, described being totally “floored” by the virus despite being relatively healthy.
The father of three urged others to take social distancing rules introduced across the UAE seriously.
And he repeated the view that Covid-19 “does not discriminate” and that everyone needed to do their bit to help reduce its spread.
“I swim, bike and do triathlons but here I am stuck in a hospital with pneumonia fighting this virus,” he said.
"I call it the beast in a dark hole, as it came out of nowhere.
“I was floored, had absolutely no energy and I could hardly eat. It’s scary.
“My lungs are 100 per cent consumed by this thing but I’m getting better and I’ve stayed positive throughout.”
Across the world, more than 675,000 people have contracted Covid-19.
The spread of the virus, which has so far caused more than 31,500 deaths, has forced unprecedented lockdown measures in several countries to help curb its spread.
In the US, the number of cases has exceeded the number in China, where the outbreak began.
In the UAE, figures remain relatively low. Total cases stand at 468 with two deaths. A total of 55 people in the country have recovered.
In an interview from his hospital bed, Mr Manning, from Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, said he first developed symptoms of the virus on March 16.
He was initially struck with severe fatigue, which was followed by full body aches and a fever, he said.
Concerned by his temperature, he went to a local clinic but assumed he was simply suffering from a bout of flu.
Medics there told him they were unable to test for Covid-19 because he had not travelled to any at-risk countries or was knowingly in contact with anyone who was already infected.
And after a few days spent recovering at home he decided to go camping with friends and family.
"We stayed for one night but when I got home, that is when it really hit me," he told The National.
“It started with cold-like symptoms, then progressed to a full on flu-like feeling with body aches.
“Then stage three hit. That came in and dragged me into a deep dark hole.
“It kicked me hard and the doctors confirmed I had full-blown pneumonia.
“Initially, I would delay laying down at night just because I knew I’d have a coughing fit.”
Mr Manning is in his sixth day as a patient at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital in Dubai.
He returned to hospital after his camping trip after hearing a friend had contracted the virus.
On March 22, Mr Manning tested positive for Covid-19 along with his wife, Suman, who is asymptomatic.
She is self-isolating at home as friends and relatives care for the couple’s children.
“We are two opposite versions of the same disease,” Mr Manning said.
“To date, my wife has showed no signs, so it really effects people in different ways.”
Last week, Mr Manning shared a video on Facebook detailing his time in isolation in hospital.
He said he wanted to demonstrate to the wider public the effects of the virus and to stress it needed to be taken seriously.
“I’m sharing this because so many people are just not taking this thing serious enough,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Maybe now you actually ‘know someone’ with it, you will take it serious and actually stay home.”
On Sunday, Mr Manning said he was “still struggling”, but was “finally coming out the other side” thanks to the efforts of staff.
Each day, he is woken up by a nurse at about 4.30am for a blood test and chest X-ray.
Every few hours, doctors or nurses check his vital signs, including his blood pressure.
“They have to monitor my CRP levels, the levels of inflammation in my body, because that was dangerously high for a few days,” he said.
“I’m swabbed every day to see if I’m still infectious and for now, I am. But I’m holding out hope for the next few days.
“I’m a 42-year-old fit and healthy guy, but let me tell you, this thing is nasty if it wants to be.
“We don’t have a real understanding of the extent it could go to or how it could manifest, so as a patient with the virus I urge people to stay home, keep a distance and be responsible if only for those more vulnerable.”