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Vietnam Makes Preparations to Fly Patient 91 Back to UK on July 12

With steadily improving health, the British pilot might be able get home in less than two weeks.

Tuoi Tre reported on Monday, June 29 that Vietnam’s National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control is arranging a consultation this week among top medical experts to examine the current health conditions of the British pilot, also known as Vietnam’s Patient 91.

The session, per request of the UK Embassy ahead of his planned repatriation on July 12, is to determine whether his health has progressed enough to sit through a long-haul flight back home. Before that, the patient will also have to fly from Saigon to Hanoi.

Patient 91’s insurance company has confirmed with Cho Ray Hospital, where he’s undergoing rehabilitation, that it would cover the entirety of his treatment costs. Previously, the company paid VND3.5 billion in hospital fees to the HCMC Hospital of Tropical Diseases.

According to the plan being discussed, should the patient qualify for flying home, he will be accompanied by a doctor and nurse to monitor his health throughout the trip.

As of June 29, Patient 91 has seen significant strides in health: he’s regained hand control and can stand and take a few short steps. His oxygen levels can reach up to 97%. Doctors at Cho Ray have stopped giving him antifungal medication.

It’s been more than two months since Vietnam last reported community transmission of COVID-19, though new cases continue to emerge among Vietnamese nationals returning from abroad.

The country’s land borders with neighboring countries present risks of infection, as illegal entrance is not uncommon. Over the weekend, border guards in Quang Ninh Province — which is next to China’s Guangxi autonomous region — caught eight individuals who tried to escape compulsory quarantine by swimming across a river from China into Vietnam. They have been placed in quarantine facilities in Mong Cai.

[Photo: Patient 91 during a visit by HCMC People's Committee Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong/Vietnam+]

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