Eliaquim Mangala on contracting COVID-19: “Even if you don’t have symptoms, you are a danger.”

Speaking to L’Équipe after contracting COVID-19 last week, French and Valencia central defender Eliaquim Mangala provided a warning to the rest of the population about the virus and took the newspaper through his experience.

How did you learn that you had COVID-19?

Friday, at the club, we were made to do tests. They are simple tests. I had zero symptoms, I was like normal. So on Sunday morning when the doctor told me I had tested positive, I was shocked, initially I thought that it was a joke. But when he spoke to me about quarantining measures, for a period of 14 days, the fact that I would have to isolate myself from my children, I understood that it was no joke.

What does your daily life look like right now?

I am quarantined at home. I am lucky, I have a house where my family can remain isolated from me. There is a floor where I am living, and my family is living the floor above. Aside from that, my day-to-day is pretty simple: there are no effects on me, I have zero symptoms, so I can continue to go training, to do muscle work. We have been given a training programme. With a mask, I go out into the garden to continue to train. And then aside from that, I watch documentaries, films, I play on consoles. There is Netflix, I read too.

Do you sense that the public are taking the coronavirus threat too lightly?

If there are people like me, as in people who are carriers but have no symptoms, that means that there are others. And when I see images of restaurants, parks, I think to myself there is a problem here. People need to be aware that even if you are not necessarily a danger for yourself, you can be for others. For parents, grand-parents. Or even young people. Everyone is not blessed with a fully functioning immune system. Potentially, everyone is a risk. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can be a danger, you are a danger. I am an example of that.

What do you say to people who don’t want to respect quarantining?

What happened for several weeks in Italy, is coming to us. We are not joking around here! We cannot chill out in a park, as if nothing has happened, that is not how we are going to stop an epidemic. The reality is that the only solution is confinement.

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