Former NRL prop Mose Masoe has been told he must leave hospital by Friday (NZ time), despite his continued rehabilitation from a career-ending spinal injury.
As the United Kingdom is overrun by coronavirus, hospitals are discharging hundreds of non-critical patients to make room for the sick.
NZ-born Masoe, who has been housed at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, has only just started walking with the assistance of parallel bars, after injuring his spine in January, while playing for Hull Kingston Rovers in the Super League.
Masoe told the Hull KR website that he was "not ready to go home" and urged people to "stop being selfish and stay home", as the public continues to ignore national lockdown orders.
"They’ve got to clear out a lot of wards to get in the people who have coronavirus, so a lot of us have to go home," Masoe said.
"It will be nice to get home, so I can spend some time with my kids, but there’s a lot of things I can’t do myself, like going to the toilet and things like that.
"I don’t want to put a burden on my missus. We just got the news this morning, so we’re still in the dark."
Hospital staff told Masoe that they were also incredibly concerned for his health, as catching COVID-19 could put his life in jeopardy.
"When you get a spinal injury, you're at high risk," he said. "A lot of people forget our immune systems drop.
"We need people to stay home, so we can get back into the hospital to do rehab. It’s the first time in the world you can save lives by just staying home, watching TV or playing PlayStation.
"That’s my frustration with people who aren’t listening. My wife is pregnant, so they’ve all been staying home and she’s only going out to get food.
"They’ve been doing the right thing and staying away. I haven’t seen them for two weeks."
Masoe, who played 63 NRL games for the Penrith Panthers and Sydney Roosters, said he was "gutted" he couldn't continue his recovery at a place well equipped to service his physical and mental needs.
The Wellington-born 1.98m (6ft 6in) giant had been recovering at a rapid rate, well ahead of where doctors thought he would be.
"The next step was to go from parallel bars to a walking frame to crutches, and then you can pretty much walk by yourself."