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Virus warning from Bermudian in China

  • In Shenzhen: Darren Burchall warned yesterday that people who had recovered from the virus had later retested positive

A Bermudian living less than 600 miles away from Ground Zero of the Chinese Covid-19 outbreak warned yesterday that people who had recovered from the virus had later retested positive.

Darren “Butch” Burchall, who lives in Shenzhen, said there were growing fears about infected people who had recovered, but could still be a danger to others.

Mr Burchall, a former Southampton Rangers footballer and cricketer, added: “I am confined to my apartment and I am not in a hurry to go back out because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of silent carriers.”

Mr Burchall, who was also a sports reporter on TV channel ZBM, said. “People who were infected and recovered have retested positive.

“An article I read said that while there are only 23 new cases there are about 15 to 20 per cent reinfections from hospitals.

“Part of the reason for reinfection was people were being released with small amounts of the virus that flared back up.”

There have been almost 450 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Shenzhen, which is relatively close to Wuhan, where the virus broke out last December.

Mr Burchall, a computer science teacher at a Shenzen school, and his family are quarantined in their apartment until at least April 1.

He said: “No one can enter my building and I have to do my grocery shopping online. I have not started to crack yet and luckily I am delivering lessons online and working late, which helps time pass.

“Most of my colleagues on quarantine are dealing with it in different ways.

“Some are sleeping more, some are drinking more, while others cannot wait to finish.

“I have one colleague who finished quarantine and he said he did not even go out.”

Mr Burchall added: “There is a mixture of emotions here because you feel it’s for your own good to relax and wait it out.

“However, every little itch in your throat or sensation in your sinus or nose has you worried.” Mr Burchall has started an in-house exercise regimen to stay as physically active as possible.

He said: “It helps to do deep- breathing exercise and everyone is taking it different ways. It’s mentally strenuous but necessary, and it’s the necessary that helps us cope.”

Mr Burchall advised Bermudians to follow all of the government rules introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19 across the island.

He said: “In order for Bermuda to keep numbers down, the mentality of our people must alter. We have to take this thing seriously as it is extremely contagious.

“People have to re-evaluate their interactions with others. Hand shaking and hugging needs to cease, and keeping hands clean is a must.

“Locking the island down is a very important step and people must be willing to be economical with their personal freedom for the sake of the whole country.

“If the leaders are saying stay home and stay off the streets, then forget about defending your rights and freedom and conform.”

Mr Burchall warned: “This illness will be around for a long time. We just have to weather the storm because it is new and humans have not developed natural resistance to it yet.

“But we will adapt. The human body is an amazing machine.”