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'My kids exhaust me more than COVID-19,' says doctor in quarantine with his family

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By Christopher Pitchers
Jonathan Peterschmitt told Euronews about life in quarantiine with Covid-19
Jonathan Peterschmitt told Euronews about life in quarantiine with Covid-19   -   Copyright  Euronews

A French doctor infected with COVID-19 along with 15 members of his family has described his life in self-imposed quarantine, saying he felt surprisingly "good".

Jonathan Peterschmitt, a family practitioner from Ammerzwiller, near Mulhouse, spoke to Euronews on Thursday morning and explained that it was is possible to “live with the coronavirus” without becoming seriously unwell.

Eighty per cent of people who contract the disease do not experience severe symptoms, he told Euronews' Good Morning Europe.

Frontline health workers such as doctors and nurses are exposed on a daily basis to people with infectious diseases and the coronavirus is no exception.

'We are trying to entertain them'

Peterschmitt believes he picked up COVID-19 from his church.

And he joked that COVID-19 was proving less demanding than having four children.

"Really, I feel very good," he said. "I am maybe a little tired because I don't sleep a lot because I have four kids ... they exhaust me more than the virus I think.

"At home, we are trying to entertain them. It has only been three or four days so far so they are not yet bored."

Friends and well-wishers are leaving food at the door, Peterschmitt said.

He said three of out six in his immediate family had tested positive for COVID-19, but in his wider family, there were 16 in total with the virus.

'I was tired, with headaches'

"Last week I felt like I had a cold or flu symptoms. I was tired, with headaches. Over the weekend I heard that some cases were found in the area. I didn’t want to see my patients without knowing what I was carrying so I was tested."

In France, 423 cases had already been confirmed by Thursday (March 5) and seven people had died, according to the country’s health ministry.

The disease has spread rapidly across the world. On Thursday the World Health Organisation (WHO) said there were 95,265 reported cases and 3,281 deaths.

Some countries have enforced strict lockdowns and measures.

Italy – the hardest-hit European country – saw the national death toll reach 148 on Thursday, a leap of 41 in just 24 hours. The government announced on Wednesday that all schools and universities would close until March 15, and all major sporting events would be played behind closed doors.