S'pore's 1st Covid-19 patient: 'I didn't want to bring suffering to S'poreans'

He is very thankful for the medical care and healthcare workers here in Singapore.

Joshua Lee| February 19, 09:46 PM

After nearly a month of isolation in a foreign hospital, Singapore's first case of Covid-19 has been discharged on Feb. 19.

The man spoke to Lianhe Zaobao and revealed that this is the first time he has travelled overseas. It is also the first time he spent his New Year in a foreign place.

The 66-year-old Shanxi native, who only wishes to go by his surname Wang, told LHZB that coming to Singapore for a vacation is Heaven's arrangement to help him avoid calamity:

"Back in China, the situation is very complicated, and there are many sick people. It must be Heaven's plan for me to come here and receive such good care."

Arrived in Singapore on Jan. 20

In total, Wang was isolated in Singapore General Hospital (SGH) for 28 days.

He arrived in Singapore on Jan. 20 with his family from Guangzhou. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 three days later.

"At that time I was hoping to make use of this vacation break to tour Singapore and Malaysia," he told the Chinese paper.

"On the second day in my hotel, I felt feverish. On the third day, I took my temperature -- it was 36°C -- and I felt fine. Later in the afternoon, my fever came back. I took my temperature again and it was 38°C. My son advised me to visit a hospital."

Son advised him to visit SGH

At first, Wang wanted to go to a clinic. But his son advised him to go see "the best healthcare professionals" at SGH. "That was wise advice," said Wang.

"At that time I knew that there was this probability (of having the virus) and if so, I didn't want to bring suffering to Singaporeans. So I decided to visit the hospital quickly."

After his diagnosis in SGH, Wang's fever subsided after four days. However, he still tested positive for the virus and had to stay in SGH for observation.

Wang told LHZB that his test results fluctuated between negative and positive on the third and fourth day. This, he says, is an example of how rigorous Singapore's healthcare system.

"Back in China, you would have been discharged in two days. A hospitalisation stay in China would probably last only eight to ten days."

The longer period of care afforded to patients in Singapore has been very beneficial not only to him, said Wang, but it is also a responsibility to the wider population.

Comfort in his family's concern

This being Wang's first foray overseas, and also his first Chinese New Year away from home, Wang took comfort in his family's care and concern.

"Spending the first day of Chinese New Year in a ward, I was really hoping to talk to my family. The communication between family members is better than any medication."

This is because a simple phone call can bring so much comfort.

Wang was also especially touched by the healthcare workers around him. He was served dumplings on the first day of Chinese New Year, and tang yuan on the fifteenth day.

"They consoled me, were very friendly, and they would ask me what I needed," he said. Even though there was a language barrier, Wang said that he could feel their concern and warmth.

Now that he is discharged, the thing that Wang craves the most is a bowl of hot dry noodles, he said, laughing.

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H/T to Lianhe Zaobao. Top image credit: Zheng Zhangxin, Lianhe Zaobao.