Story By: Lee Bullen,Sub Editor: Joseph Golder,Agency: Central European News
A British former nurse and her at-risk husband said they were fortunate to have been treated for COVID-19 infections in Vietnam as they doubted they would have survived if they were in the UK when they caught the disease.
The British man, named in reports as John Garth, 74, and his 67-year-old wife, named as Shan Coralie Barker arrived in the northern Vietnamese capital Hanoi on 2nd March to visit their son.
According to local media, when the Vietnam Airlines flight they were on reported several cases of COVID-19, the authorities tracked the couple down, and took them to a quarantine area in the province of Quang Ninh on 6th March.
John tested positive for COVID-19 on 13th March and was transferred to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, according to local media.
Reports said the 74-year-old Brit has type 2 diabetes and has struggled with leukaemia for over a decade.
His health quickly worsened and he was admitted to the ICU where he was one of the first three virus patients in Vietnam to require a ventilator.
On 8th April, the British OAP no longer needed an oxygen mask and could breathe unaided. He also tested negative for COVID-19 four times between 8th and 13th April.
He left hospital on the evening of 13th April and along with his 67-year-old wife Shan, who was also infected with COVID-19 and recovered on 2nd April, the couple boarded a flight arranged by the UK government on the morning of 14th April.
Shan, who used to work as a nurse, told local media: “We were very shocked when we were told we had the virus.
“I thought I might die from it during the first days, but then I gradually started to feel better.
“We were treated in two different rooms and when I heard that my husband was taken to intensive care, I knew he was in a critical condition.”
The former nurse said she was aware of how dangerous the virus can be and how lucky they both are to have survived it.
Shan said: “Vietnamese doctors have saved the lives of my husband and me.”
She added: “I’m not sure we would have survived it if we were in the UK.”
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