A BRITISH expat has urged the public to ‘take coronavirus seriously’ after suffering permanent lung damage due to the pandemic virus.

Ian Tanner, who moved to Spain three years ago, tested positive for a second time to COVID-19 last Friday after complaints of back pain revealed an underlying lung infection.

The former maintenance business owner, 62, admitted he could have been ‘positive’ for a whole month after completing an self-isolation period on medical orders after testing positive the first time on March 25.

Ian, who lives in Orihuela Costa, believed he was ‘cured’ of this initial infection when his medically-supervised home quarantine finished on April 12.

Ian Tanner
Ian with a mask at home in Orihuela Costa on Spain’s Costa Blanca

But by early May he went to his doctor complaining of back pain and suspecting a ‘blood clot’, which with no signs of fever appeared to have no relationship with coronavirus.

Medics at the private Hospital Quironsalud Torrevieja instead found he had an underlying lung infection, permanent scarring and administered a COVID-19 test before revealing Tanner was still battling the contagion.

“I’ve been walking around, going to the shops, it’s horrendous,” Ian, from Kent, told the Olive Press.

“To think I had my three grandchildren come to stay for 10 days and I was cuddling them, and all the time I was positive.”

Ian said his wife was hospitalised with coronavirus on March 24, a day before him, and spent 17 days in Torrevieja’s Hospital Universitario, coming ‘within a whisker of dying’.

“Thank Christ she pulled through,” said Ian, who was sent home after just four days in hospital and asked to complete a 15-day isolation period with daily phonecalls and a weekly visit from a nurse.

Ian Tanner 1
Ian with his wife, who beat coronavirus after ‘excellent’ treatment at Torrevieja’s Hospital Universitario

Medical staff told him he would be safe to go out after two weeks, and Ian believed he had developed immunity to the virus.

“When you come out of that condition, you think ‘I am immune, the virus has gone’,” Ian, who said he had no significant medical history, added.

“But of course it hadn’t. If it wasn’t for this lung infection, I’d still be out there talking and possibly infecting friends, probably without a mask on.

“I don’t have a complaint against the Spanish health system, they saved my wife’s life, but it’s a worry they’re not testing patients after sending them home for self-isolation.”

Ian will now need to re-enter self-isolation and return to see doctors for his lung damage. His wife does not have any ‘long-term scarring’ and has not presented symptoms.

But Ian’s bizarre re-infection and asymptomatic response made him wonder ‘how can this pandemic end?’

He added that he and his wife visited a casino on March 12, where he believes he initially picked up the virus.

Jeremy Kenton said, expert medical witness, and Olive Press medical correspondent, said: “The problem is that the virus can mutate. There are still so many variables and so many unknowns with COVID-19.

“What scientists are beginning to see, especially in academic papers coming from China, is permanent lung damage they’re calling ‘honeycomb lung’. The lower third of the lung acquires a honeycomb appearance on an X-ray, hence the name.

“You’ve got to monitor something like this for years, and we’re here talking months and weeks.

“You also have to remember that, although somebody may have no past history, that doesn’t mean they weren’t a smoker, had an undiagnosed type-2 diabetes – there are so many variables here.

“The other issue is people who think there’s nothing wrong with them, who are now lowering their guard and not realising they are still potentially an infection risk.

“It’s all so soon to make conclusions.”

Have you suffered coronavirus infection in Spain and want to tell your story?

Contact me at: joshua@theolivepress.es

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