Kerry and Tony Londero on release from the virtual hospital in Sydney PHOTO SUPPLIED
A former Bourke resident has told of his harrowing experience after contracting the COVID-19 virus aboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship in March.
Bourke-born Tony Londero and his wife Kerry left Australia on Sunday, March 8 for what they hoped would be a relaxing cruise to New Zealand aboard the Ruby Princess.
But within days, Tony was fighting for life after he and Kerry contracted the virus. Tony wants to tell his story as a warning to others not to underestimate the danger posed by coronavirus, to listen to health and government advisories and to abide by social distancing and hygiene protocols.
“This virus is very dangerous and life-threatening, and people should take it very, very seriously,” Tony said.
“Even though I have found it upsetting to talk about what happened to me, I am speaking out to prevent people from becoming complacent.
“I want to warn people that you can have no obvious symptoms at all and still be infectious. I only had a mild sore throat, I wasn’t coughing, sneezing or short of breath when I first contracted the virus.
“It was eight days after we left Australia, on March 16, when a note was put under our door asking anyone with a temperature to report to the crew and by then I did have a temperature so I went straight to the sick bay and reported.
“I was admitted because they thought I was having a heart attack - the virus was causing strain on my heart and causing a rapid heart rate (tachycardia) and mild heart attack symptoms.
“I was in the ship’s hospital for three days until we arrived back in Australia. We got in very early on Thursday morning, March 19 and the ship’s doctor sent a triple zero call for two ambulances for me and another lady who was also very ill. At about 3am we were taken to RPA hospital.
“At that stage, my lungs were clear, no cough, no sneezing and the doctor didn’t think I had the virus, but as I was being admitted I had a seizure because of my high temperature.
Read more in the printed edition of the Western Herald.