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'Don't take it lightly, it's serious!' - Austin reveals ordeal during suspected bout of coronavirus

3:30 PM GMT+4 21/03/2020
Charlie Austin West Brom 2019-20
The Baggies forward was shocked by the severity of his symptoms but his club have since confirmed that he was not tested

Charlie Austin warned that coronavirus should not be taken lightly even by the young, fit and healthy after falling ill over the past week, though West Brom have now revealed that he was not tested and has made a full recovery.

Several figures in the English football world have tested positive for Covid-19, which has brought the game to a halt around the planet. 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was the first to be confirmed as a sufferer, while Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi was also forced into isolation after returning a positive result. 

While it has been widely stated that the elderly and those with pre-existing heart or respiratory conditions are most at risk, however, Austin assured that he was in serious discomfort after suffering what a doctor described as symptoms consistent with coronavirus, although he was not officially diagnosed. 

“I felt like someone had chucked a bucket of water over me. I was soaking," the ex-Queens Park Rangers, Southampton and Burnley forward told the Telegraph of the cold sweats he suffered at the start of the illness, accompanied by a fever that reached 39.7°C. 

“Before I started feeling the symptoms on Saturday I was on the phone to my wife Bianca’s mother and I said to her that I hoped if anyone in our family got it that it would be me.

"I felt like I was fit and healthy and I could handle it. A week later and I would say to anyone, even those in their 20s and 30s – ‘Don’t take it lightly – it’s serious’.

"I get that people who haven’t got it are going about their lives. Last week, I was living my life. Not that I didn’t take coronavirus seriously. But this is extremely serious and we should take it that way.”

Following that interview, the Baggies released a statement confirming that Austin had not in fact been tested. The forward said via the club's official website: 

“I felt terrible for a few days but I never tested for the virus and feel fine now.

“It was sensible advice to self-isolate from the rest of the lads and from my family during this period. I’ve now made a full recovery.” 

The coming weekend will be the second to see the Premier League and English Football League pyramid closed down in a bid to avoid further spread of Covid-19. 

As recently as last Thursday, however, fixtures had been confirmed as going ahead - and Austin believes that were it not for Arteta and Hudson-Odoi's cases, they may well have been played. 

“It almost took someone high up to get it for the game to think, ‘Oh actually, we need to stop'," he added.

"If Mikel Arteta hadn’t tested positive, we would have played those fixtures [last weekend]. I would rather we looked back in three or four months’ time and thought we were over-cautious than look back thinking that we could have done more."