AN INTENSIVE CARE doctor in Gwent, who is recovering from coronavirus, has shared a heartfelt appeal to residents to obey the lockdown and prevent the spread of the disease.

The consultant, David Hepburn, said his intensive care team at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board were fighting to treat "a lot of patients who are critically unwell with coronavirus".

"I can’t emphasise to you [enough] how sick this can make you," he said.

Dr Hepburn urged people not to defy public health advice to stay at home and avoid social contact.

"Please, please listen to the advice that’s going around at the minute," he said. "It’s a small sacrifice for a short period of time, and then life will get back to normal again.

"But we have to protect everybody, and we have to protect the NHS."

He said many of the most seriously ill coronavirus patients were young and otherwise healthy.

"Some of them are younger than I am, and they’re certainly not the frail, elderly people that some of us were led to believe we’d be seeing – they’re young, they’re fit, and they have young families, as do I," Dr Hepburn said.

The consultant, who is currently recovering from coronavirus, said it was unlikely he was infected while treating patients.

"The reality is much more mundane," he said. "I think I probably caught this from contact with colleagues at work, possibly; or possibly someone out in the street, before any of the coronavirus patients arrived on the intensive care unit."


His symptoms started "innocuously", he said, with a "burning sensation" in his nose and a loss of the sense of taste.

He did not develop a cough – one of the two most typical symptoms of the virus (along with a fever).

But this was followed by "a week of just feeling absolutely terrible – aching muscles, aching bones, unable to get out of bed and sleeping 16-18 hours a day", he said.

As of today, the virus has claimed the lives of 17 people in Wales. In the Gwent region, the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 248 – the highest of any health board area in Wales.

The latest public health information is available on the health board website at: