News

Former Echuca man battling coronavirus

By Ivy Jensen

A FORMER Echuca man is fighting for his life in a Sydney hospital after testing positive to coronavirus.

Stephen Tucker was diagnosed on Tuesday, March 24, after arriving in Sydney from Bangkok following a cruise.

His mother Sarah, who lives in Echuca, said it had been an emotional week finding out her firstborn had been struck down with the deadly disease, which has already killed 14 people in Australia.

“The hardest part is that I can’t see him,” she said.

“He’s all alone and knows no-one in Sydney.”

Sarah said her 43-year-old son had been travelling overseas for years and was aboard a cruise about three weeks ago.

“He got gastro on the cruise ship and was confined to his cabin,” she said.

“He was in the UK for a few days before returning to Australia. The only way home was through Bangkok but once he got there he didn’t feel too good, but he just thought it was the gastro.”

When Stephen arrived in Sydney last Sunday, he alerted airport authorities about his worsening health.

“No-one was checking passenger's temperatures but Stephen felt hot and dizzy so he went straight to the desk and told them,” Sarah said.

“If he had have hopped on his connecting flight to Melbourne, he would have more than likely affected someone on that flight as well. This is how easily mistakes made at airports can cause this evil virus to spread.”

Stephen was taken by ambulance to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where he has been in ICU ever since.

And Sarah said his health had been “up and down” over the past week.

“His temperature was 41C and they just couldn’t get it down,” she said.

“His breathing went down at one stage, so he is on oxygen.

“He has his good and bad days. I speak to him on the phone every day, but a couple of times I haven’t been able to because he has been sleeping a lot.”

Today was a good day, Sarah said.

“He seemed much brighter when I spoke to him,” she said.

“He’s coping okay. He’s just feeling really sweaty and uncomfortable.”

Sarah said it was a shock to find out her son had contracted the virus.

“He’s fit and healthy, exercises and goes to the gym, but he’s got a really bad dose of it,” she said.

“But he’s keeping very positive. He’s not scared at all. He keeps telling me he’ll be fine.”

Sarah said her son had been living the life of luxury overseas for the past 20 years.

“He’s a bit of a wheeler and dealer so he had plenty of money, but he realised it was time to settle down and get a job,” she said.

“That’s why he came back to Australia. He was going to come back to live on the Gold Coast.”

The last time the mother-and-son saw each other was in November when they went on a cruise together.

“I really miss him, and I can’t wait to see him again,” Sarah said.

“Once he gets better and gets the all-clear, he’ll come to see me.

“It’ll be an emotional reunion.”