Ms Jiang (fourth from left), diagnosed with the coronavirus infection after arriving in Singapore for a holiday, posing for a photo with doctors and nurses at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases to thank them for caring for her when she was warded from Jan 23 until she was discharged last Friday. PHOTO: MS JIANG
The Straits Times (9 February 2020)
2nd person confirmed to have coronavirus is also given clean bill of health by hospital
For some years now, Ms Jiang, 53, who wants to be known only by her surname, had been hearing about how clean Singapore is and how friendly the people here are.
She yearned to visit, and her daughter, who had been to Singapore with a classmate some years back, saved from 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 for a holiday.
But one thing has panned out – she has 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 last Friday – the second patient to get a clean bill of health out of 40 identified so far.
“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 arrived in Singapore on the morning of Jan 21, but started feeling unwell that afternoon. She did not 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 (NCID) on Jan 23 at 1am, and was immediately warded in an isolation room.
She said: “I thought I had the common cold. I have 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 coronavirus 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 had the coronavirus.
In the two days of sightseeing she managed to get in before she sought medical care, she had taken the MRT and taxis to 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. But she missed it as she was still in hospital.
All commercial flights between Singapore and Wuhan have been suspended because of the outbreak.
The doctor caring for her at the NCID had apologised that he could not discharge her in time for the chartered flight. He had explained that she still had some strain of the virus in her then, so it was not safe for her to be discharged.
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 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.”