In a diary detailing his experience for the The Coconet, Tupa’i Keneti Apa said he thought he was “going to die” after contracting the virus.
“People absolutely need to take this seriously – it’s the worst thing I’ve ever had,” he wrote.
Apa, 56, and his wife Tessa caught the virus after travelling to Los Angeles for the premiere of I Still Believe.
He says he lost his sense of smell and taste on March 13 while still in LA, and experienced body aches and a high temperature.
Back in New Zealand, by March 23, Apa said he “could not breathe at all if I sat up or stood up and this continued and got worse all throughout the week.”
“I can now get out of bed and breathe ok for about 30 mins before I have to lie down again.,” he said. “And I can now smell and taste things again. Each day I’m feeling a little stronger.”
Apa said he wanted to share his experience to encourage Pacific communities to be vigilant with self-isolation, and for big aigas (families) to stay in their bubbles.
Tessa also contracted the virus but showed much milder symptoms.
I Still Believe stars KJ Apa as Christain music star Jeremy Camp in a biopic about his rise to fame and relationship with his wife, who was diagnosed with cancer before they married