Southwest Sydney man’s urgent message to community as he lies in hospital bed battling COVID-19

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A Sydney man being treated for COVID-19 in hospital has begged his friends, family and community to “take COVID-19 seriously”.

Breathing heavily from his hospital bed, Khaled Elmasri, from Sydney’s south west, seen in the video above, said he had learnt of the seriousness of the virus “the hard way”.

He is one of 929 confirmed locally acquired cases reported since the Bondi cluster was first identified on June 16.

He is also one of 73 patients who are in hospital with the virus, with 19 in intensive care, five of whom require ventilation.

“Of course, I know and knew that COVID-19 is a real disease but I don’t think that before now, I took it seriously enough,” he said in Arabic, in a video shared by the Central and Eastern Sydney Public Health Network.

A Sydney man being treated for COVID-19 in hospital has begged his friends, family and community to ‘take COVID-19 seriously’.  Credit: CESPHN

“I was careful but I don’t think I was careful enough. I should have committed 100 per cent.”

According to his doctor, Belmore GP Dr Jamal Rifi, Elmasri was admitted to hospital almost a week ago after struggling to breathe.

“They were going to take him to the intensive care unit,” Dr Rifi said, “but thankfully his condition has improved.”

Elmasri described COVID-19 as a “very serious, very heavy disease”, explaining he had only recently been able to “speak and breathe a bit more normally”.

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‘I have learnt my lesson the hard way.’

“It’s really important to take advice from doctors and follow their medical advice,” he said while addressing his “friends, family and community”.

“Take the vaccine program seriously. I didn’t take it seriously enough to put my name down for a vaccine beforehand.

“With hindsight I feel like I should have done that. I have learnt my lesson the hard way.

“And I’m now going to get the vaccine.”

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