Fitness coach reveals COVID-19 journey: I am PH 13

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Photo courtesy of Jon Oliquino/Facebook

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — Living an active lifestyle, making sure that he eats nothing but healthy food and going to the gym at least four times a week, 34 year-old Jon Oliquino never imagined that he would acquire the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Oliquino said that he decided to come out in public and share his story because he wants to inform the Filipino people that dealing with virus is not an easy feat and even younger and active persons like him had a hard time surviving it.

Oliquino said that until now he is not 100 percent sure on where and when did he acquire the virus.

Tinitignan ko 'yung timeline, wala talagang ako maalala na anyone na pwede kong makuha ang virus. Siguro, noong nasa airport ako kasi ang daming tao, o baka nung nasa eroplano ako papunta sa Australia kasi marami ring umuubo noong mga panahong iyo,” Oliquino told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: I checked my timeline, I really could not recall anyone I could have caught the virus from. Maybe when I was in the airport since there were a lot of people or maybe when I was in the plane going to Australia because a lot of people were coughing that time.]

Upon arriving to Australia, Oliquino said that he started feeling the symptoms of the virus. At first he thought that it was an ordinary virus or flu, but day by day the situation worsens for Oliquino.

Nawalan ako ng panlasa, nawalan ako ng pang-amoy, nagka-diarrhea ako, and then may fever na rin, sabi ko iba na ito,” he said.

[Translation: I lost my taste, I lost my sense of smell, I had diarrhea, and then I had a fever too. I thought this was strange.]

Oliquino then decided to return to Manila to get treatment. After eight hours of flight, which he considered the ‘longest flight’ of his life, he immediately proceeded to the emergency section of a hospital in Makati.

Noong una, ayaw ako i-test for COVID-19 kasi 'yung Australia naman ay hindi hotspot,” he recalled. His doctors however decided to administer the COVID test when he later on develop pneumonia.

[Translation: At first they didn’t want me to test for COVID-19, since Australia was not a hotspot.]

Iyon 'yung turning point. Tapos I was in antibotics for two days, tapos noon I started feeling better,” he said.

[Translation: That was the turning point. Then, I was on antibiotics for two days and then I started feeling better.]

The test results confirming that Oliquino was positive for the virus came out on March 9, and he was later on identified as ‘PH 13’.

Now that he has recovered and has been negative for the virus, Oliquino said that he wants to share his COVID-19 journey to the public and to highlight the importance of following quarantine protocols.

“I eat salad, healthy food, I go to the gym thrice or four times a week, who would’ve thought that I would get this virus,” he said.

Gusto ko lang sabihin na 'yung mga pasaway, mga ayaw makinig at seryosohin ang virus na ito na it could affect anyone,” he added.

[Translation: I just want to say to those who are stubborn, unwilling to to listen and to take this virus seriously, that this virus can affect anyone.]

Apart from the physical stress, Oliquino said that being diagnosed with the virus also took a toll on his mental health.

Nakaka-trauma siya, parang ayaw ko nang lumabas, sobrang takot na kong lumabas,” he said.

[Translation: It was traumatizing. It's like I don't want to go out anymore. I am too scared to go out.]

Oliquino put himself into an additional 14-day quarantine after he was discharged from the hospital.