The internet is awash with suggestions for keeping yourself occupied at home during the coronavirus outbreak, but one Australian scientist ended up in the hospital thanks to his choice of entertainment.
With medical authorities around the world advising people to stop touching their faces, to help slow the spread of the virus, Melbourne-based Daniel Reardon thought he would try to make a sensor that could tell if your hands were near your face, he told CNN.
An astrophysicist by trade, Reardon, 27, had some electronic parts lying around and decided to try his hand at a spot of engineering.
“I was just feeling a bit bored when it came up,” he said, admitting that his invention had the opposite effect to the one he intended: Instead of making a noise when his hands were close to his face, it buzzed incessantly until he moved them to his face.
“I had a laugh and gave up temporarily,” he added. “Then I started mindlessly placing the magnets on my face. First my ear lobes, then my nostrils – like a magnetic piercing.”
At that point, Reardon had only gained himself some temporary body modifications, but things were about to get slightly more permanent.
“The problem was when I put magnets in my other nostril,” he said. “They all pinched together and the ones on my septum got stuck!”
Unable to remove them by himself, Reardon ended up heading to the local hospital.
He said he spent about an hour there, describing the facility as “pretty quiet,” as coronavirus patients are being sent to another hospital.
“The staff enjoyed it – several doctors and some nurses came to laugh at/with me,” said Reardon.
“In the end, two doctors pulled at them – one grabbing at the magnets in each nostril.”
Reardon took a photo of the medical report, which states that he had denied there were any further magnets up his nose.
“I was in a bit of pain while they were moving the magnets and my nose – I had made it pretty sore myself,” he said.
“But other than that I was laughing with everyone else.”
So far, Australia has had over 4,200 cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
In response to the outbreak, the country tightened its restrictions on movement Monday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said public gatherings would be limited to two people and ordered residents to stay home, except to shop for necessities, medical care, exercise, work or education.