IZMIR, Turkey

A Turkish nurse who battled COVID-19 twice in seven months in western Izmir province urged people to follow health rules as the virus continues to spread.

Hatice Demir Savas, 39, went to a hospital for diagnosis and treatment in April after showing symptoms of the disease. She was discharged after a 10-day treatment and spent three weeks at home in quarantine.

Mother of three, Demir was again hospitalized in November after noticing symptoms like difficulty in breathing and arthralgia. She remained in quarantine for another three weeks in a dormitory after testing positive once again for COVID-19.

Demir told Anadolu Agency that battling with the virus for seven months was the most difficult period of her life.

“With difficulty in breathing and increased palpitation, I started to think I was at the end of my life and that I would never see my children again. There were moments when I was short of breath,” she recalled the horror while being under treatment.

“In November, I tested positive for the virus again. I thought my body could not endure this disease for the second time and it would separate me from my loved ones.”

She added: “Though I have recovered from the disease for over a month now, I still feel pain in my joints.”

Urging people to follow safety measures such as wearing masks and observing social distancing to help curb the spread, she said: “I’ve got this disease twice. I don’t want to experience it for the third time. I’m afraid of even leaving my house now.”

Dr. Bunyamin Sertogullarindan, a specialist at a university hospital in Izmir, said those recovering from COVID-19 should continue to follow rules because they risk contracting the virus again.

On Sunday, Turkey reported 20,316 new COVID-19 infections, including 3,546 symptomatic cases, and recorded 246 more deaths.

* Writing by Seda Sevencan in Ankara.

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