Coronavirus: Wales' first patient urges positivity

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Media captionWales' first Covid-19 patient tells his story

Wales' first Covid-19 patient hopes his recovery from the disease will inspire others to "stay positive" through the pandemic.

Mark Hosking, 53, from Mumbles, Swansea, became ill following a family skiing holiday in Italy in February.

He is recovering at home after spending more than two weeks in hospital, including four days in an induced coma.

"If you can take your time and build up your strength, you can become the person you were before," he said.

Mr Hosking added: "You hear so much of the other side but you can come through it, so remain positive. You have to, there's no real alternative.

"If you're that severe that you have to go onto intensive care then the care they give you is fantastic."

Image copyright Mark Hosking
Image caption Happy times, but just two days after returning from this holiday, Mark became unwell

Mr Hosking, a sales director, had only just returned from skiing in Lombardy - the epicentre of the outbreak in Italy - during the February school half-term when he began to feel unwell.

He self-isolated but his symptoms became more severe and after testing positive for the virus, he was taken to the Royal Free Hospital in London.

However his condition continued to worsen and the decision was taken to put him into an induced coma.

Image caption Mark Hosking spent four days in an induced coma

"They [the doctors] came in and said 'we're going to be putting you out now and put you on a ventilator," he recalled.

"That was the biggest thing I was fearing because you have no sense of what's going on and there's every chance you might not come back.

"It happened so quickly, it's just like a light going out. I have no recollection of anything, I was just gone."

Mr Hosking praised the NHS staff for regularly updating his wife Gemma.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Mr Hosking spent 17 days at the Royal Free Hospital in London

He said when she asked doctors just how ill her husband was, they replied, "He's the sickest patient we have."

Six weeks after leaving hospital, his breathing is slowly improving but he still struggles with fatigue.

"I was told take your time, don't expect to get back to full fitness quickly," Mr Hosking said.

"When I came out of the coma with the ventilator I felt extremely fragile, very weak, and even leaving the hospital was a strange thing.

"To leave the security of the hospital was a big thing. There's a lot of mental issues you've got to think about, to bring yourself back into the world. But the world had changed a lot from when I went in to when I came out."

The UK was in a "contain" phase of the outbreak when Mr Hosking was diagnosed so health authorities carried out checks to trace anyone he had been in contact with after returning from Italy.

That, he said, ensured there was no further contamination, though his daughter Ellen suffered mild symptoms at home.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh Government could adopt an experimental app being trialled in the Isle of Wight to track and trace coronavirus.

Mr Hosking said people should "buy-in" to self-isolation and contact tracing completely.

"I can't see any reason why the population shouldn't get involved with contact tracing and the apps," he said.

"That would be a very good thing to get us back to some degree of normality as soon as we can."

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