Because there's such a huge Filipino diaspora in the world, it was only a matter of time before we heard reports of our countrymen testing positive for COVID-19. The latest is an overseas Filipino worker in Kuwait who officials said had close contact with someone who recently traveled to the United Kingdom.
According to the Department of Health, a total of 245 Filipinos overseas are reported to have been infected with the coronavirus as of March 27, 2020
One of these is a student currently residing in Berlin, Germany, who shared her experiences suffering from symptoms of and eventually confirming that she had COVID-19 on Twitter.
"Hello, I want to share my symptoms of COVID-19 to raise awareness and to make people calm," she begins her Twitter thread at around 8 p.m. Manila time on March 19. "I am a 24-year old Filipina who is currently residing in Berlin, Germany."
Abagat is in the German capital pursuing a Masters degree.
Her symptoms started with a sore throat on Saturday, March 14. She didn't think much of it because, as she says, she loves "sweets and cola."
The next day she started getting a headache but her temperature was still normal. But by around midnight she had woken up feeling "warm" but "at the same time cold inside."
By the time she checked her temperature again, she was 38.1 degrees.
In the morning, she headed to one of the testing centers in the city to get herself checked. She was told the result would take seven days.
In the meantime, as she locked herself inside her house, Abagat says she tried to figure out where she could have gotten the virus. She retraced her recent travels: She took the train to Brussels, Belgium via Cologne on March 9 and then flew back to Berlin on Friday, March 13.
In the rest of the Twitter thread, Abagat describes how she's been coping during self-quarantine: Keeping herself busy with schoolwork and watching Netflix. But it was when she got the call from the doctor confirming that she had COVID-19 that she broke down.
But she says she's keeping herself strong with the support of family and friends.
It's evident in her tweets that Abagat is choosing to remain cheerful and optimistic despite the situation. She may be far from her loved ones, but she wrote the Twitter thread to help demystify the virus and educate people about what it's like to be a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
Abagat also shares important reminders from her doctor as she recovers completely from the virus.
Her most important reminder?
"You won't die," she says. "Just stay at home and KEEP CALM!"
On Sunday, March 29, Abagat had some good news to share: