A Russian woman who escaped the coronavirus quarantine on leaving a hospital window defended her decision, saying the conditions at the facility were unsanitary and that she was only detained because of a bureaucratic error.
The mother of two, from the central city of Samara, posted on Instagram to explain her actions after receiving public criticism.
It occurs as the WHO has warned that it is "too early" to predict the end of the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, despite a "stabilization" in the number of newly confirmed cases in China.
Amid global concern, many countries have quarantined recent arrivals from China, in some cases, regardless of any symptoms.
In Russia, only two cases of COVID-19 have been reported. However, the authorities hospitalized hundreds of people who returned from China as a precaution.
Two Russian women who arrived from the island of Hainan, 1,500 km from Wuhan, were kept in isolation, but later fled, citing uncooperative doctors, poor conditions and fear of being infected. Russian health officials have not commented on their complaints.
One of the women, under the username Guzel Neder, posted a lengthy explanation on Instagram after a public reaction.
She said her son, Leo, had a cough and fever of 37.3 C (99.2 F) four days after the family's return. She called emergency services, who diagnosed the boy with a viral respiratory infection and said the mother and son should go to a hospital for coronavirus tests.
The hospital promised test results in three days, then extended them to five, she said. Meanwhile, the boy responded to treatment with drugs and an inhaler, she wrote. When she tried to push for results, hospital staff obstructed her, she said.
Eventually, she made direct contact with the Russian diagnostic center in Novosibirsk, near the border with Mongolia, where officials said she would have been informed if her son had tested positive.
Meanwhile, she became concerned about relaxed procedures at the hospital, saying that some medical teams arrived in the isolation area without masks or threw their protective clothing on the floor.
"My son was hysterical," she wrote. "There was no way out but to leave the hospital without authorization, through the window."
She said that no one else on her flight from Hainan had been quarantined.
"We did not expect, when calling an ambulance, that they would keep us in the dark for five days in an infectious disease hospital with violations of sanitary and epidemiological standards, where there was a risk of getting an infection."
The second woman, Alla Ilyina, from St. Petersburg, said she tested negative for the coronavirus, but doctors said she should be quarantined for two weeks.
She told the Fontanka newspaper that she was confined to an isolation room without books or soap, without Wi-Fi and a wastebasket that was never emptied.
After figuring out how to break the electronic lock, she escaped, but no one came to look for her. "If I was sick, they would have flooded me with phone calls," said Fontanka.
Fontanka also published a video recorded by other patients quarantined at the same hospital in St. Petersburg. The footage shows two young women in what appears to be a patient's room, showing a handwritten note saying, "Let's get out of here, please."
. (tagsToTranslate) Coronavirus outbreak in China (t) Coronavirus (t) COVID-19 (t) Russia (t) quarantine