Father-of-three pastor battling coronavirus pleads with people to stay at home

Pastor Mark McClurg(Photo: Facebook/Mark McClurg)

A father-of-three pastor says he's "grateful" to be alive after spending a week in intensive care battling coronavirus.

Mark McClurg, 40, from County Down, posted a video to his Facebook page in which he warned of the seriousness of the deadly virus. 

"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," he said. 

He thanked staff at the Ulster Hospital ICU for looking after him "night and day 24/7". 

"I am grateful I am alive today," he said, adding, "They have saved my life. The doctors and nurses I don't know what else to say I love you."

Mr McClurg, who is a pastor in the Elim Pentecostal Church, is to be moved back to a ward following his time in the ICU.

He thanked Christians of all backgrounds for praying for him. 

Mark McClurg, with his wife Claire, whom he praised for being "loving and supportive" throughout his ordeal(Photo: Facebook/Mark McClurg)

"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," he said. 

He ended with a warning to people not to think that the coronavirus is simply a "wee cold and cough". 

"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," he said. 

"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.

"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."