Pastor, 40, gives stark warning about not taking lockdown seriously

‘Coronavirus wants to take all the life out of your lungs’: Father-of-three pastor, 40, struck down struggles to breathe as he gives stark warning about not taking lockdown seriously

  • Mark McClurg, 40, from Country Down, spoke from his bed in Ulster Hospital
  • Urged public to listen to the government’s advice and practice social distancing
  • Father thanked NHS staff treating him and said he was grateful to be alive today
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A pastor who is fighting coronavirus has made a heartfelt plea urging the public to listen to the government’s advice and protect themselves against the ‘deadly and dangerous’ illness. 

Mark McClurg, 40, from Country Down, who spoke from his hospital bed in the intensive care unit at Ulster Hospital near Belfast, described how the virus ‘wants to take all the life out of your lungs so you cant even breathe’ in his warning to the public.

The father-of-three, who will soon be moving back to a ward after spending a week in ICU, posted a video on social media telling the public he was ‘grateful he was alive today’.  

Taking to Facebook to share his message with the world the pastor said: ‘Hello I’m Mark McClurg. For the past week I’ve been fighting coronavirus with the help of ICU staff in Ulster Hospital. 

Mark McClurg, 40, from Country Down, described how the virus ‘wants to take all the life out of your lungs so you cant even breathe’ from his hospital bed at Ulster Hospital near Belfast

The pastor (right with wife Claire)  made a heartfelt plea urging the public to listen to the government’s advice and protect themselves 

Taking to Facebook to share his message with the world, the pastor said it was important to protect the NHS

‘This coronavirus is deadly and is dangerous. Coronavirus wants to kill you. It wants to take all the life out of your lungs so you can’t even breathe.’

‘I am grateful I am alive today. I want to thank the ICU staff in Ulster. Night and day 24/7. They have saved my life. The doctors and nurses I don’t know what else to say I love you.’

Mr McClurg, who is part of the Elim Pentecostal Church, went on to pay tribute to his partner Claire who had remained by his side when at his worst and was ‘the best wife in the world’.

He continued: ‘I am grateful that I have a loving and supportive wife. I have the best wife in the whole world. I love Claire. 

‘When I was at my worst and couldn’t even talk she was the one to see me. Claire thank you so much for helping me get through that.

‘I am also a pastor. I don’t go to your church but I belong to your church family and what I’ve loved over the past week is the church family has been praying for me. 

‘I see the messages, prayers of support all over our lovely country. I love northern Ireland. I love the world. Thank you so much for praying. I belong to Jesus. I believe in Jesus and I love Jesus.’

The father-of-three, who said he was struggling to breathe, went on to say he was grateful to be alive

Speaking from his hospital bed, the pastor urged the public to take the virus seriously and continue practicing social distancing

During his video, the father warned the public to take the virus seriously and not think it was simply a ‘wee cold and cough’.

He added: ‘Lastly don’t think this wont touch you – coronavirus. Don’t think for one moment that this is just a wee cold and a cough you’re getting. Please look at me and listen. 

‘If you get coronavirus and you have to go into the ICU that means you’re going to struggle to breathe. You could go on a ventilator. So please please listen to all the advice from the government.

‘Keep social distancing because Northern Ireland we will get through this but we have to do this to protect the NHS. We must protect the heart and soul of Northern Ireland at the moment and that is our NHS staff. 

Social media users offered messages of support to the pastor who has been fighting coronavirus

‘They need us. I’ve seen their faces. I’ve spoken to them. Some of them have come to terms with the fact they’re going to get coronavirus. Let that sink in. Do your part.

‘Social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t pick up the phone and phone out loved ones and phone our friends and phone neighbours but be wise, be kind and love and protect the NHS.’

Following the father’s message, social media user rushed to the platform to share their messages of support.

One user wrote: ‘Keep fighting, prayers for you and your family.’

While another added: ‘Get well soon mate. You’re in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.’

The pastor’s heartfelt plea comes after six more patients died in Scotland, five in Wales and four in Northern Ireland today – taking the UK’s death toll to 437.

Official figures now show that 8,399 people in the UK have now caught COVID-19 however government advisers suggest the true size of the outbreak is likely to be closer to 400,000.      

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