A German mayor who admitted to deliberately infecting himself with the coronavirus so that he could develop immunity has said the disease was far worse than he expected.
Stephan von Dassel, 53, is a Green party politician in Berlin and mayor of the city's Mitte district.
“I was ill longer than I thought. I got infected almost on purpose to develop immunity and thought I'll be a bit sick for three days and then I'll be immune — I can't catch it and won't pass it on to anyone, but it was a lot worse than I imagined,” Mr von Dassel told public broadcaster RBB, according to Deutsche Welle.
He said he had allowed himself to be infected by his girlfriend who had caught the infection while on a trip to Switzerland.
Mr von Dassel said he also had to go into quarantine and, as they were living together, he realised it was effectively very difficult to spend two weeks together and not get infected.
He therefore decided to accept he was going to get infected and did not try to avoid it.
"I was of the opinion that avoiding infection when under house quarantine with an infected person despite preventative measures was very difficult to avoid, and therefore accepted that it was going to happen and made sure that I was infected as quickly as possible to get it over with,” Mr von Dassel said.
He said if he had not done so, the time he eventually spent in quarantine could have lasted at least four weeks instead of two.
Mr von Dassel defended the move against critics who said a politician had a duty to keep themselves fit by saying the long-term objective has to be to make as many people immune as possible so that the disease can no longer affect us.
"Above all we need to level the curve. And I've now contributed to this over the last 15 days because I was well behaved and stayed in quarantine,” he said.
In a tweet, Mr von Dassel admitted: “Perhaps my statement on the radio today was misleading.
“But my actions were and are responsible. I was, am and will remain in quarantine until I can no longer infect anyone.”
Critics pointed out what he did was against the advice of health officials who say people should practice social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus and not put undue pressure on health services.
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