Monday, 30th October 2017

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British tourist in Kerala cured

Seven of the 19 tourists from Britain had tested positive

By K.M. Rakesh in Bangalore
  • Published 2.04.20, 4:16 AM
  • Updated 2.04.20, 4:16 AM
  • 2 mins read
Brian Neil (seated, wearing a mask) with the doctors who treated him. (From left) Jacob K Jacob, Fathahuddin, (standing from left) Geetha Nair, Ganesh Mohan, Thomas Mathew, Manoj Antony and Peter P. Vazhayil Telegraph picture

A British tourist hospitalised in Kerala with a severe bout of Covid-19 has been fully cured through multi-pronged treatment that included antivirals used to treat HIV patients.

Brian Neil, 57, was among 19 British tourists who were disembarked from an Emirates flight to Dubai on March 15 at Kochi airport when they tried to surreptitiously fly out of the country.

Since he was already under quarantine at a holiday resort in Munnar, the health authorities had admitted him to the Government Medical College at Kalamassery in Ernakulam district.

He was stopped from leaving since his blood sample had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Admitted to the ICU dedicated for Covid-19 patients, Neil’s conditioned had deteriorated with progressive reduction in oxygen levels that led to respiratory failure, the hospital said in a media statement.

The team of doctors put him on an “antiviral cocktail” of the HIV drugs Ritonavir and Lopinavir along with Hydroxy-chloroquine and Azithromycin for 14 days.

“Meanwhile he needed ventilator support with non-vented mask interphase ventilation through ICU ventilator with viral filter at the expiratory port. After 3 days of starting antivirals his general condition began to improve, though he continued to have unremitting fever,” the hospital statement said.

Neil’s fever subsided by the seventh day of starting antivirals and the X-rays began showing improvement of the lungs’ condition.

Subsequently he tested negative for the coronavirus twice and has been off oxygen support for the past five days.

The hospital statement, signed by principal Dr Thomas Mathew, described Neil’s survival “as a tribute to the great team spirit and clinical ethos practised in this institution during these hard times of fighting a global pandemic”.

A multidisciplinary team having doctors Jacob K. Jacob, Ganesh Mohan, Geetha Nair, Vidhukumar, Vibha Santosh and Renimol attended to Neil, according to the hospital.

Neil’s wife Jane Lockwood, who too had been infected, was discharged earlier after she tested negative in both the confirmatory tests. She has since been moved to quarantine.

Now Neil will be quarantined for 14 days.

A publicity video released by the government public relations departments shows Neil walking out for the first time since he got admitted and soaking in some sun.

He also spoke to health minister K.K. Shailaja and said: “I am very well. Thanks to your team of doctors and nurses. The medical treatment is first class.”

Seven of the 19 tourists from Britain had tested positive. Three of them are still in isolation. The group had arrived in Kochi on March 6 and headed to Munnar where they had put up at the Tea County resort.

Neil developed fever and other symptoms at the resort and the medical college in Kottayam had quarantined him at the resort.