A British man in India is suffering from paralysis and blindness after being bitten by a black cobra while struggling with suspected COVID-19 after his business partner had been diagnosed with the virus, his family said.
Forty-nine-year-old Ian Jones is being treated in an intensive care unit in a hospital in India in the city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan following the snake bite incident, reports said.
The former healthcare worker had been in India for months where he manages Sabirian, a charity-funded social enterprise that aims to help people out of poverty.
A GoFundMe page has been created by Community Action Isle of Wight, which owns Sabirian, to raise money to pay for his medical bill and transportation when he is discharged from hospital. Almost £4,000 has so far been raised in less than 24 hours.
According to Jones' business partner Aakash Saini, at the moment, "neither can he see nor can he walk. He was bitten by a snake on his hand while he was resting," the Independent quoted Saini as saying. Jones may not have tested positive for COVID-19 this time around, but doctors believe he was infected back in March.
Seb, Jones's son, said his father had already fallen ill with dengue, malaria, and coronavirus but had "remained steadfast" in his determination to stay in India and continue his work to help those that need his support. Jones lives on The Isle of Wight with his wife and kids.
When Jones was diagnosed with a suspected coronavirus infection this year, it was a major worry because he's also a cancer survivor, and has reduced levels of immunity as a result.
Jones' family added everything has been "touch and go," and he is stable at the moment though he can't see and move his legs, both of which his family hopes is only temporary. At the rate things are going, it is clear that Jones will need to remain in the hospital for some time to come.
Based on a recent report by BBC News, citing a new study, an estimated 1.2 million people have died from snake bites in India during the last two decades. Almost half of the victims were between 30 and 69 years of age, and around 25 percent of them were children, the study showed.
Half of the fatalities took place in the monsoon season between June and September, when snakes are known to come out. Most of the victims were bitten in the legs, the study said.