S'pore's second coronavirus patient says she was not afraid because of 'wonderful medical team'

(Fourth from left) Ms Jiang poses for a photo with nurses and doctors at the National Centre for Infectious Disease. PHOTO: MS JIANG

SINGAPORE - For some years now, Ms Jiang, 53, had been hearing about Singapore and how friendly people here are.

She yearned to visit, and her daughter saved her salary to give her mother a treat.

Little did Ms Jiang expect to become Singapore's second confirmed coronavirus patient, just three days after she arrived here.

But one thing panned out - she found people here as friendly as she had been told, though much of the friendliness she experienced was from the medical staff who cared for her.

She has recovered and was discharged on Friday (Feb 7).

"The medical team really have hearts of gold," she said in Mandarin.

She said they had taken good care of her even though she is a foreigner. When she thanked them, they replied, "It is our job."

She added: "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."

Ms Jiang had arrived in Singapore for a holiday on Jan 21 morning, but started feeling unwell that afternoon.

She didn't think much of it till the following day when she started coughing and was running a temperature.

She went to Raffles Hospital, but since she had come from Wuhan - the epicentre of the outbreak, the hospital sent her to Tan Tock Seng Hospital's (TTSH) Emergency Department at 9pm in an ambulance.

She was transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on Jan 23 at 1am and was immediately warded in an isolation room.

She said: "I thought I had the common cold. I had such symptoms before, which were like the common cold."

Even after she was sent to TTSH, she said: "I didn't believe I caught the 2019-nCoV infection, I comforted myself, thinking 'it was just the typical pneumonia'."

But the following day, her worst fears were confirmed when she was told she was down with the novel coronavirus.

In the two day of sightseeing she managed to get in before she sought medical care, she took the MRT and taxis to visit Orchard Road, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay.

Now, she would very much like to go home as soon as possible.

"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 Feb 5 for Wuhanese to return to China," she said.

She said the doctor at the NCID had apologised that he could not discharge her in time for the flight. He had explained that she still had some strain of the virus in her then.

She told him: "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."

She won't be able to go home for some time as the province of Hubei is in lockdown. All commercial flights between Singapore and Wuhan have been suspended.

She said if the doctor had discharged her earlier before she was fully well, she might have spread the disease to others.

"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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