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'Spreading at our church was so strong', says French doctor infected with COVID-19

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Jonathan Peterschmitt is a French doctor infected with COVID-19.
Jonathan Peterschmitt is a French doctor infected with COVID-19.   -   Copyright  Euronews
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A French doctor currently in self-imposed quarantine after being infected with COVID-19 told Euronews that relatives and fellow members of his local church are "now on life-support".

Jonathan Peterschmitt, a family practitioner from Ammerzwiller, near the eastern French city of Mulhouse, has been in isolation with his family for 17 days. The family believes they contracted the virus at their local church.

"We have a lot of friends in my church where the spreading was so strong that went to the hospital. Some of my family members and some members of the church are even now on life-support," he said.

For his part, Peterschmidtt said he felt "very good and confident" despite experiencing "a second wave of symptoms."

"Mostly I am sad and I think of all these people who are much worse than me," he added.

'We're extra careful'

More than 8,800 people have died from the novel coronavirus since it first emerged in December in the Chinese region of Hubei.

The epicentre of the outbreak has since shifted to Europe, according to the World Health Organisation with more than 4,000 fatalities and 82,869 reported cases.

Italy has been the most heavily impacted across the European Union accounting for more than two-thirds of fatalities. It is followed by Spain and France, the latter of which has so far recorded more than 9,000 cases and 244 deaths.

"I'm extra careful and we stay home and try to be extra careful for everybody," he stressed.

The doctor, whom Euronews first interviewed on March 6 as he was entering his fifth day of quarantine, said the children are "very, very well (...). They are exhausting me more than the virus even if I'm a bit more sick today than I was then".

'A normal life'

To cope with the isolation from quarantine, the family relies on apps to communicate with loved ones. Peterschmitt has also started working again.

"I can't see my patients here because I'm still coughing a lot now, so I cannot see them but I work on my computer and I see them through video," he explained.

France became the third European country to introduce a lockdown on Monday evening, with citizens only allowed out of their homes to go to the supermarket, health facilities and a quick walk outside or risk being fined €135.

Peterschmitt stressed that "what's very important is to try to keep, as much as possible, a normal life."

"I think for my patients and my family what I try to express is that it's very important when you can, when you're able to, to try to spend a little time outside in the sun, in the fresh air," he advised.

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