Pastor who spent a week in ICU with coronavirus praises Jesus as he leaves hospital

(Photo: Twitter/Mark McClurg)

A pastor with coronavirus who pleaded with people to stay at home during the pandemic has thanked doctors and nurses for saving his life after finally being allowed to leave hospital following a week in intensive care.

Mark McClurg, from County Down in Northern Ireland, posted photos to Twitter of himself with staff at the hospital in Ulster and giving two thumbs up as he left in a wheelchair. 

Sharing the good news, the father-of-three said: "Jesus is my healer." 

Upon leaving the hospital, his appeal to people was to be "be kind". 

"I have some amazing news," he wrote.

"I'm leaving the Ulster Hospital. I want to thank everyone for their prayers. I want to thank the staff at the Ulster Hospital for saving my life. I looking forward to enjoying life. Overcome #Coronavirus. Be kind. Jesus is my healer." 

The 40-year-old went went viral on Facebook when he pleaded with people to heed social distancing rules.

In a video message, he had asked people to pray for him but also to take coronavirus seriously, with a stark warning that they could end up like him on a ventilator and struggling to breathe in ICU. 

"Lastly don't think this wont touch you - coronavirus," he said.

"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 continued: "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."