A British charity worker who was bitten by a cobra while battling coronavirus in India was reportedly ’30 minutes from death’.
Ian Jones is in intensive care after being bitten by a black king cobra in a village in the north west of the country and is suffering from blindness and paralysis.
The former healthcare worker, who lives on the Isle of Wight with his family, had been in India for months where he runs Sabirian, a charity-backed social enterprise aimed at helping people trade their way out of poverty.
Mike Bulpitt, who has worked with Mr Jones for six years, told the Sun: “Ian was just relaxing at the charity workplace when he was bitten between his lower arm and hand by the cobra.
“He was already feeling a little under the weather before the bite which, without treatment, you can die from within 30 minutes.”
He added: “The snake bite caused the Covid symptoms to exacerbate, and he fell in and out of a coma for the next two or three days.”
Mr Bulpitt said they are more worried about Ian’s bite than his coronavirus.
Mr Jones’s son Seb said his father had already experienced malaria, dengue fever and Covid-19 but had “remained resolute in his determination to stay in the country and continue his work to help the people that needed his support”.
He said: “He had not been able to travel home due to the pandemic and as a family we understood his desire to continue to support the many people who relied on him.
“We were naturally concerned about him though and then when we heard he had also suffered what is usually a fatal snakebite on top of all that he had been through, we honestly could not believe it.
“It really has been touch and go, he is stable at the moment although he has paralysis in his legs and blindness, both of which we hope is temporary, but it is clear he is going to need to remain in hospital out there for some time to come.
“We are extremely grateful to his colleagues there who have been brilliant and rallied around him in his time of need, as indeed he did for them.”
Community Action Isle of Wight, which owns Sabirian, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds to cover Mr Jones’s medical costs and in the hope he can eventually be transported home.
Sabirian helps some 70 Indian craftspeople aged between 18-87 by providing training to import and sell their crafts and furniture in the UK in a sustainable and ethical way.