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The current COVID-19 pandemic which has affected many and claimed the lives of so many, is still continuing to be a global threat for which there is no cure. And yet, there are many who still do not take the virus seriously.

Lt-Col Theo Sekete, the chairman of the SAPS National Marathon Association, is based at Limpopo Provincial HRD (Training). He is an active road runner who has completed 18 Comrades and 12 Two Ocean marathons, in addition to numerous half and full marathons. And yet, he too tested positive for the virus.

He gives an account of his experience:
"In June this year I was supposed to have participated in the 45 km Comrades Marathon Legends virtual race. I was well-trained and ready for this prestigious event. However, a day prior to the event, I was admitted to hospital for another illness and during the routine test, I tested positive for COVID-19. This news obviously affected me and I was concerned about my health, not knowing what consequences this deadly virus will have on me. I was treated successfully for my original diagnosis.

After three days, I was discharged and remained at home, in quarantine. I strictly followed the guidelines to ensure that I abided by the advice issued by the health authorities. I recovered without any complications and consider myself fortunate, as I am aware of the consequences in some cases that led to death of so many who contracted this virus.

My concern is that so many people have various ideologies regarding the virus. Some believe that the virus is man-made and that the statistics released by government are fictitious. Some people respond that they have never seen any person falling ill from the virus. The mentality of some is that because they are athletes, they would not be affected by virus. Sadly, this does not hold any water as many of the world's top sportspersons have also contracted this virus. It is evident the virus has no boundaries. Even high-profile individuals have become victims.

It would appear that people are not taking the advice and guidelines given by the relevant authorities seriously and as a result, the community will eventually become victims of the virus.

Through my personal experience I would like to use this medium to persuade and humbly request my colleagues and the community to take this virus seriously by complying with the advice, guidelines and precautions given regularly by the authorities."

At the time of writing this article, I am aware of several family and community members and fellow colleagues who have been affected by the virus. Sadly, four of my former colleagues, of whom three had served under my command, have passed away due to COVID-19. My deepest sympathies to the families.

Let us prevent the virus from spreading by following the guidelines and complying with the regulations.

Editor's note
On 31 July 2020, the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele announced that 113 police members had already succumbed to this deadly virus. Our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of these members.

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