After hearing about his family's experience while he was in isolation, having tested positive for COVID-19, the man who is Jamaica's first patient to recover from the virus is begging his fellow countrymen not to discriminate against people who contract the disease.
The 31-year-old cruise ship worker's appeal follows his release from St Ann's Bay Hospital, where he had been in isolation for approximately 16 days, he fully recovered from the disease at the weekend.
The ship worker did not want to be identified, stating that his diagnosis has caused enough pain for his spouse and two children who not only had to endure the stigma associated with him testing positive, but were also the victims of burglary.
In his appeal he says:
“Just gwaan move safe and no bother discriminate against people, because it's not every time certain thing go as how it is said. People had it fi seh mi soon dead and all kind of things. So mi deh here strong a tell unnuh seh all is well, yeah. It's not a death sentence if yuh have it. Mi naah go seh that; it never kill mi,” the man, described by health officials as Patient 5, noted in an interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday at his home in Harrison Town, St Ann.
Translation: “Just be safe and don’t discriminate against people, because not everything goes the way they say it will. People had it (in their minds) that I was going to die and all kind of tings. So, I’m here and I’m strong telling you all is well. It’s not a death sentence if you have it, I’m not going to say that [because] it never killed me.”
Watch video of patient 5's spouse
His spouse informed the Observer that while he remained in isolation, relationships with some residents in and around the community soured. The woman, who works as a hairdresser in Ocho Rios, explained that she has had to self-isolate as a result of “hurtful” comments which, she said, have caused business to ‘dry up’.
She said her ordeal began days after her spouse returned to the island on February 25.
He had been based in Europe, travelled to Miami in the United States and then to Montego Bay.
She said he complied and underwent several tests before being released the same day.
The woman said shortly after the tests were conducted, rumours began circulating that her spouse had tested positive for the virus.