This British professor who has tested positive for coronavirus says he began to suspect he had the disease because he lost his sense of smell.
Professor Hugh Mason, 53, who is a UK citizen living in the city-state of Singapore, said that he first realised he could be infected with COVID-19 when his wife was peeling an orange on 23rd March.
Mason, who had first had cold-like symptoms which turned into a fever, told local news outlet The Straits Times: “My wife was peeling an orange and I thought, that’s weird, I can’t smell it.”
Mason, who works as an adjunct associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering at the National University of Singapore’s, said he had seen reports that COVID-19 has been linked with a loss of smell in some cases.
He then went to his doctor and was given a coronavirus test on Thursday 26th March.
Mason then reportedly went home and self-isolated as he waited for the results before being asked to take a second test.
When the results of the second test returned positive he was taken to Singapore General Hospital on Friday 27th March.
His wife, 50, who has not been named in reports, also tested positive and has been placed in isolation at Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
Their son, 13, is reportedly in self-isolation with their domestic helper, with Mason joking: “He’s fine, he’ll probably be playing video games at home all day now that there’s no one to stop him.”
Mason says he was last in the UK on 21st January, adding “that’s a long time ago, so I don’t think I brought it back from the United Kingdom with me”.
He added to The Straits Times: “There’s enormous politicisation (of this healthcare crisis) in the UK. I realise there is scarcity (of medical resources) because of appallingly bad management, there’s scarcity and fear, and it brings out the worst in people.
“(In Singapore) we still have scarce resources, but they’re being used very, very wisely. That means help is available for people who need it when they need it. I feel extremely lucky to be here.”
He went on: “It’s been a very reflective time for me, being alone. I feel incredibly grateful… I realise that my family and other families here are being looked after by this system and it’s taking care of our lives.
“I want to smell the air, that green smell, again…It’s very odd to be in a room that I can’t leave, but I know that this is what’s keeping us all safe,” he said.
The professor said his sense of smell has not yet returned but his other symptoms have improved.
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