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'I thought I had the common cold': Singapore's second coronavirus patient on her experience

'I thought I had the common cold': Singapore's second coronavirus patient on her experience

Discharged COVID-19 patient Ms Jiang (in yellow) poses for a photo with doctors and nurses at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. (Photo: Ms Jiang)

SINGAPORE: A woman from Wuhan who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Singapore said she initially thought she had the common cold. 

The woman, who only wanted to be known as Ms Jiang, was the second confirmed case of the coronavirus in Singapore.

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The 53-year-old arrived on Jan 21 with her daughter for sightseeing. She did not have symptoms during the Scoot flight to Singapore, but developed a fever, cough and chills in the afternoon of her arrival.

She sought medical attention at a hospital the next day and was warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

Her daughter tested negative for the virus.

More than two weeks later on Feb 7, Ms Jiang was discharged and says she is now looking forward to going home. 

She spoke about her experience in an interview with the Ministry of Health: 

Why did you visit Singapore?

My daughter and her classmates have visited Singapore. They feel that Singapore is clean and the people are friendly. For the past few years, I have also been saying that Singapore is quite a nice place. So, my daughter saved her salary, and bought a ticket for me to visit Singapore.

Could you share with us what it was like when you experienced the onset of symptoms?

After a medical check-up and X-ray, the doctor told me I have pneumonia. I found it unbelievable as I thought I had the common cold. I had such symptoms before which were like the common cold. Even then, I didn’t believe I caught the 2019-nCoV infection, I comforted myself that: “It was just the typical pneumonia”.

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How was your hospital stay?

The hospital room I stayed in is good. The medical staff is caring and encouraging. As I have diabetes and high blood pressure, the medical staff regularly checked on my blood level and heart and did blood tests for me. I received very good medical care. I am grateful to the staff and thanked them for taking good care of me, even though I am a foreigner. They simply replied, “It is our job.” The medical team really have hearts of gold.

The virus has caused many people around the world to be very fearful, what would you like to share with others having recovered from it?

I was not afraid because of the wonderful medical team you have here. I am but an ordinary mother, but I was brave and overcame it. From the experience, I also became stronger. Through this experience, I strongly feel that every human being should learn to respect nature, and to care and love creatures (big or) small. There is also a need for us to keep a boundary with them.

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What are your plans upon discharge?

To be honest, Singapore is a wonderful country, in terms of its climate and in other areas too, but this is not my homeland after all. 

I understand that there was a chartered flight on 5 Feb for Wuhanese to return to China. I initially thought that I would be able to board the plane back, but regrettably, I missed it. My doctor apologised to me (for not being able to discharge me in time for the flight back); he explained it was because I still had some virus on me.

I replied: “I should thank you. You are being responsible to me, to others, and your profession by not discharging me. There is no need for you to apologise to me, I should thank you instead.” 

Although I cannot be discharged, nor meet my daughter, but if I was discharged, I might spread it to others, and this is definitely unacceptable. I must be cleared of my virus thoroughly, and be given a clean bill of health, before I can go home.

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Source: CNA/ad(cy)


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