British pilot to leave Vietnam for home after virus recovery

HANOI (AP) — A British pilot who was Vietnam’s most critical COVID-19 patient is virus free and has recovered enough to make the long flight home next Sunday, doctors said.

A group of Vietnamese doctors who have been overseeing the treatment of the 42-year-old man from Scotland announced on Monday evening that he “has made substantial progress and his health condition allows him to travel” on the 12 hour flight to London.

The man is virus free, breathes normally without any support and is no longer treated as a COVID-19 patient, said Dr Tran Thanh Linh, the deputy head of the ICU ward at Cho Ray hospital where the man is receiving treatment.

Vietnam has gone all out to save the man, who was working for national carrier Vietnam Airlines when he tested positive for the virus in March. The pilot had been critically ill and spent 65 days on life support.

Doctors said at one point they considered a lung transplant as the man’s lungs were 90 per cent damaged and non-functional.

Linh said yesterday that the man now sleeps well and can sit up and walk with a

walking frame. He will however be accompanied by a team of doctors on a flight to London scheduled for this coming Sunday, the doctor said.

The pilot is known in Vietnam as “Patient 91” as he was the 91st person in the country confirmed to have the coronavirus. He was Vietnam’s last patient in the ICU and his recovery means Vietnam has still not had any COVID-19 deaths.

A doctor attends to ‘Patient 91’, a British pilot who survived COVID-19 and seated on a wheelchair as he was recovering at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. PHOTO: AP