Record label boss beats Covid-19 after quarantine

Lunga Nombewu who tested positive for Covid-19 and was in self-isolation to protect his family, is now clear of the virus. /Supplied
Lunga Nombewu who tested positive for Covid-19 and was in self-isolation to protect his family, is now clear of the virus. /Supplied

Recovered Covid-19 patient Lunga Nombewu cried tears of joy as he hugged and kissed his daughters for the first time in 15 days when he came out of self-quarantine.

The record label boss had been self-quarantining at his Midrand, Johannesburg, home since he returned from France last month.

He tested positive for Covid-19 on March 16 and went for testing again on Monday and received his results which came out negative on Tuesday.

"I got my results on Tuesday through an email from the lab and they stated that I was Covid-19 free. The first thing I did was to call my mother in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, to tell her to not to worry anymore.

"I then hugged and kissed my daughters because this was a difficult time for them as well," Nombewu said.

He said when he opened the bedroom door where he had been living in isolation on Tuesday afternoon, his daughters started jumping all over him.

"I can never sit down without one of them being close to me. We are a very affectionate family," he said.

Nombewu said as a family, they started inventing bluetooth hugs, wrote letters and spoke via video chat.

He said during the quarantine period, his doctor told him to relax and also encouraged him to take vitamins and immune-boosting foods.

There is currently no cure or treatment for the virus.

"I ate lots of fruit and vegetables. I wasn't feeling sick and I did not have any symptoms. I had a headache because of stress and the other day I had a runny nose. I was very lucky to not have the bad symptoms that I've seen others go through," he said.

Nombewu added that he also kept busy by campaigning on social media so that people can take Covid-19 seriously.

"I also tried not to stress too much as this would have deteriorated my health by weakening my immune system. Also, sleeping is important. I slept every time I felt tired. What kept me going was my faith, support from family and friends and a lot of prayers. I believe these are the things that sustained me throughout my journey," he said.

He warned people not to worry about what they see on the news and social media.

"Find your way of being positive, take Vitamin C, eat immune-boosting foods, drink as much water as you can and try to stay away from cold stuff," he said.

He pleaded with people to stay at home during the 21-day lockdown.

His social media page was abuzz with messages of support as he made the announcement on Tuesday.

Radio presenter Putco Mafani said: "Lunga is one of us he is from the townships and also black for those who think the virus is for white people only..."

Songwriter Mxolisi "MXO" Lokhwe said: "We miss you [Lunga] here at the studios so that we can make hits. You need to come back, we are waiting for you."

Actor Patrick Shai said: "Be strong and know that you have our support."

Another actor Motlatsi Mafatshe said people should know, no one is immune from the virus.

"Lunga out'yam [my brother] we are with you, be strong because there are people who love and care for you," he said.

How your body fights the infection

Dr Fundile Nyati, a specialist family physician and health expert, says when a person tests positive for Covid-19, the body will mobilise lymphocytes, which produce antibodies to neutralise germs.

"Within a day or two of catching the virus, the lymphocytes will produce Immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies.

"The test for Covid-19, which is called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), will look at the IgM antibodies that stay in one's body for 16 days. When a person tests again after this period, they will test negative because IgM is no longer in their system," he said.

Nyati said this is normally the case with asymptomatic patients. "In this case, we normally advise people to look after their immune systems. They should eat a good, balanced diet with protein and also take immune boosters," he said.

Nyati said those who show symptoms are given different treatments.

"The doctors will treat whatever symptoms the patient has. If the patient has secondary bacterial pneumonia, they are treated with antibiotics, for dehydration we give a rehydrate, Those with difficulties to breathe are put on a ventilator and for blocked airways they are given asthma-like drugs," Nyati said.

He said there is no specific antiviral against Covid-19. "We have only known about it for three months and it takes years to develop a treatment. We are scrambling to get treatment, however, many researchers out there in the world are looking for re-purposed drugs and among those are some antiretroviral or kaletra which is a combination antiretrovirals... Because of these promising drugs, the World Health Organisation has authorised a clinical trial across different countries." 

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