Couple with Covid-19 make it back to Singapore via air ambulance
Mr Abdul Rashid Sahari and his wife Safiah Rawi Abed had planned to fly home to Singapore this month from Jakarta, where Mr Rashid works, to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary with their daughters and grandchildren.
Never did they expect to make the journey back separately - and by air ambulance.
The couple contracted Covid-19, with Mr Rashid, 64, becoming severely ill. Both were evacuated to Singapore on Dec 7 and Dec 8 for urgent medical treatment.
While Madam Safiah, 56, has recovered, Mr Rashid is still in intensive care at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
The couple's son-in-law, Mr Haikel Fahim, 34, told The Straits Times: "Despite him feeling really sick, he was not admitted to hospital when he went to the clinic in Jakarta on Dec 1."
Mr Rashid was eventually admitted to a private hospital in Jakarta on Dec 3, a week after he tested positive for the virus on Nov 27.
"It was really stressful the first day my father-in-law was warded, because we couldn't get through to the hospital... or speak to the doctor in charge," said Mr Haikel, who works in public relations.
"We were also worried about my mother-in-law, who was Covid-19 positive and alone at home."
As Mr Rashid's condition worsened, the family had to make the snap decision to get him home.
The family eventually found Hope Ambulance, which was able to transport the couple using a private jet retrofitted with the appropriate medical equipment.
Mr Rashid was flown back on Dec 7, the day he was meant to fly back for his anniversary. Madam Safiah returned the next day, also in an air ambulance.
The family estimate that the cost of the evacuation and subsequent treatment is $85,000, with the air ambulance flights alone costing $67,000.
On a blog by Mr Haikel detailing the couple's experiences, the family made an appeal for funds to help cover the costs.
Since the blog went up on Dec 13, the family has raised more than $88,000. They said any excess amount will be donated to charity.