The family of a British father blinded and paralysed after a snakebite in India said they are hopeful they can bring him home to the UK.
Ian Jones has left hospital but is still in a “very serious” condition, his relatives said.
He was already suffering from coronavirus when he was bitten by a black king cobra in a village in the north west of the country almost two weeks ago.
Having been treated in intensive care, he has now left hospital due to how busy the general Covid wards were, his family said in an update on Friday.
The former healthcare worker, who lives on the Isle of Wight, 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.
He is now being cared for back at his base in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Doctors hope the blindness and paralysis of his legs is temporary but his family said “we have no guarantees that this might be the case and he is obviously very frightened by his condition”.
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.
In a statement released through the charity, his family said: “We want to express our deep gratitude for the overwhelming interest and generosity that we have received on Ian’s behalf.
“We never expected anything like this level of support and concern and we are truly grateful to everyone involved, including all the nursing staff and his friends and colleagues out in India who have been so amazing.
“Ian has a long road to recovery ahead of him and we don’t yet know what the future holds but we remain positive and hopeful that we will be able to bring him home soon.”
Mr Jones’s son Seb said his father had already experienced malaria, dengue fever and Covid-19 but described him as a “fighter” and said he had “remained resolute in his determination to stay in the country and continue his work to help the people that needed his support”.
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.