Coronavirus: How I suffered for 26 days undergoing treatment – Gov El-Rufai

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Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai has revealed for the first time his experience while undergoing treatment for COVID-19 in isolation.


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El-Rufai, who was diagnosed with the disease on March 28, became Kaduna’s index case and was isolated for 26 days before he recovered and was discharged, having tested negative twice on April 22.

Governor El-Rufai, in a Hausa live media chat with selected radio stations in Kaduna on Tuesday night, said he suffered serious headaches and fever within the first week of his isolation.

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He added that though he was not certain as to when or where exactly he contracted the virus, he suspected that he picked it up from Abuja where he attended several meetings.

The Governor said: “I suffered a lot. I was isolated for 26 days without contact with my wives, children, in fact, nobody except for healthcare providers. I did not see my wives and children, I stayed alone for 26 days in a room, even the person who was assigned to bring food to me was well kited so I don’t infect him and I was always on drugs sometimes twice a day.”

He said he did not have symptoms of cough or other respiratory problems but emphasised that he battled excruciating headaches and fever which he said he will not wish for his enemies.

The governor revealed that though no member of his immediate family had tested positive for coronavirus, he had somehow infected a colleague, one of his drivers, his domestic staff and a close friend.

“None of my wives and children were infected, my ADC who is also with me was not infected but one of my drivers was infected, this is a disease that is still a mystery and even those you think will be infected may not be,” he said.
Narrating his experience further, he said, “I had a cold before I was tested but I took some drugs and I had already recovered except for the headaches I was having. Even when I took the test, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Blarabe only looked at me and said I looked tired and needed some rest. So she prescribed some drugs and by the next day, I was better except for the headache.”

He said he had been okay during the first two days in isolation but stated that by the third day, he had been hit by a serious fever that lasted two to three days adding that he couldn’t read or do anything and even found it difficult to pray.

“After the first week, I got better and started reading online about everything that had to do with coronavirus, and I almost became an expert. I then used my time for supplications and recited the Qur’an and then later, I started joining the virtual meetings chaired by the deputy governor,” he said.

El-Rufai said at some point, his phones were seized by his doctors, which he said he had suspected it was the antics of his wives, who connived with the Deputy Governor to ensure that he does not answer calls but only read from his iPad.

Speaking on having to shave the beard he grew while in isolation, the governor said he had been forced to shave it off after he received marching orders from his mother.

Shortly before he was certified free of the virus, El-Rufai had posted a bearded picture of himself, still in isolation and described his growing beard as “a new COVID-19 look.”

“I went to her wearing my face mask and she asked why I was wearing a mask so I told her that it was a precautionary measure against the coronavirus. She asked why I was wearing the mask when I didn’t have the virus, this is because she had not been told I was infected, she was only told I had been ill, it was then that I told her that I had been sick but had recovered,” he said.

The governor said while heeding his mother’s instructions to remove his face mask, she had seen the beard and asked: “what is this?”

“So I told her I had not shaved for one month and she immediately asked me to shave it off and reminded me that my dad had never kept a beard till his death and that if my elder brother was not keeping a beard why was I?” He said even though he had become fond of the beard and wanted to keep it, he had to obey his mother’s instructions in order to live in peace with her.

The governor urged the people of Kaduna State to be patient with the measures taken by his administration and assured that having battled COVID-19 and recovered, he was duty-bound to ensure the safety of all citizens of the state.

This article was first published by Daily Trust.

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