"It's a miracle."
That's the reaction from Waihī woman Delwyn Anderson, who lost her aunt Karla Lake to Covid-19 virus last month. and did not expect Karla's husband, Graeme, to survive.
Anderson said it came as a "huge relief" to be told that her uncle had been discharged from a Brisbane hospital and he was driven back home in an ambulance last night.
Australian-based couple Karla, 75, and Graeme, 72, were passengers on the Ruby Princess cruise ship which was scheduled to visit Tauranga on March 15.
But the ship was ordered back to Australia by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. On returning to Australia the couple fell sick and both tested positive for Covid-19 virus.
Yesterday, police announced a criminal investigation would be launched into the conduct of Carnival Australia amid the Ruby Princess cruise-ship debacle, which saw 2700 passengers disembark the ship in Sydney despite passengers showing coronavirus symptoms.
Karla died from the illness on March 28 and Graeme was admitted to the same Brisbane hospital a few days later. Both had underlying health conditions.
Anderson said she was thankful they did not lose her uncle Graeme, too.
"Graeme has made an amazing recovery. It's a miracle, as it appeared that he had given up all hope after Aunty Karla died. He's extremely heartbroken and he had stopped eating and refused to talk," she said.
"Unfortunately, there can be no funeral service for Aunty Kayla. She was such a beautiful soul, and we can't fly to Australia to wrap our arms around Graeme to support him."
"But when the lockdown is lifted we will have wonderful service to celebrate her life."
Anderson's mother, Noreen Armstrong, who is Graeme's older sister and lives in Waihī, said "it is truly a miracle recovery".
"Graeme is a broken man as Karla was his soulmate and she was truly a lovely, person," Armstrong said.
"It's very hard as there can't be a funeral for Kayla and Graeme understands that. And
because he has emphysema he must stay in isolation at home alone for the next 10 days.
"It is what it is, but it's going to be very tough 10 days for Graeme without his family being there by his side to comfort him," she said
Graeme Lake was born in Auckland and moved to Australia to live in his 20s.