Coronavirus: Endurance runner says COVID-19 made him feel like he was drowning

Ian Collier, news reporter

A long-distance runner has described how COVID-19 made him feel like he was drowning - and warned young people to take the disease seriously.

Daryl Doblados, 29, ran the Cambridge half marathon just 10 days before he was diagnosed with the virus.

The father-of-two, who has no underlying health conditions, called 111 last Thursday as he struggled to breathe and was told to call an ambulance.

"It just feels like your lungs are filling up with smoke or liquid," he said. "I struggled to breathe.

"I've never experienced anything like this before."

He was discharged from hospital eight hours after his admission, with a consultant advising him to monitor his breathing and to call 111 again if it worsened.

Mr Doblados posted a video of himself on Facebook from his home in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, where he is self-isolating.

"I'm still struggling now on day four of recovery," he said.

"If I don't concentrate on my breathing then it feels just like you're drowning."

He said he made the video to warn young people to take coronavirus seriously.

"They are just as human as I am and no matter how healthy you think you are and how high your immunity is, it doesn't really matter," he said.

"The nature of this virus is that it will get you.

"For the young people out there, we need to make sure that we do this, do this right, we stay away from as many people as possible to stop the spread of infection.

"We don't want our loved ones to get this."

It comes after a stark warning from the prime minister that the UK is heading towards a lockdown, after appeals to the public to stay indoors were largely ignored during a sunny Mother's Day.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said further measures would be considered in the next 24 hours to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if people fail to stay two metres apart.