British virus-free pilot symbol of successful Vietnam pandemic will return home

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The most seriously ill patient COVID-19 in Vietnam, a British pilot who at one point seemed close to death, left hospital on Saturday on the way home after a dramatic recovery that caught the country’s attention.The case of Stephen Cameron, pilot of the national carrier Vietnam Airlines, caused a sensation in Vietnam, where a combination of targeted tests and an aggressive quarantine program kept his coronavirus at 370 cases, and zero deaths.

“Chances are I shouldn’t be here, so I can only thank everyone here for what they did,” said Cameron, leaving the hospital in a wheelchair and flanked by doctors holding flowers. .

The 43-year-old Scotsman, who arrived in the UK in Southeast Asia in early March, was hospitalized three days after his first flight for Vietnam Airlines, following a visit to a bar in Ho Chi Minh City who linked to a cluster. cases of coronavirus.

Cameron’s disease and the high-profile efforts of Vietnamese doctors to save him have become a symbol in Vietnam of the country’s successful fight against the virus.

Lung capacity was only 10%

At one point, medical officials said that Cameron, initially identified only as “Patient 91”, had only 10% of his lung capacity and was in critical condition.

In early April, Cameron was on a ventilator and life support machine at the Ho Chi Minh City Tropical Disease Hospital. In May, medical officials said he urgently needed a lung transplant.

With the vast majority of Vietnamese patients with COVID-19 already recovered, news of a potential first death has sparked support nationwide, with dozens of people posing as potential lung donors.

State doctors refused the volunteers, saying the donated lungs must have come from deceased donors.

But under 24-hour surveillance, Cameron has improved. In June, he no longer needed a lung transplant and had been removed from survival.

Vietnam spent more than US $ 200,000 to treat it. Vietnamese doctors will accompany Cameron on his special flight to Britain, official media said.

“As soon as I’m in shape, I’ll come back,” said Cameron. “I’m still a pilot – my license has expired, that’s all. “

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