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‘I want to apologize to everyone’ One of Russia’s first two coronavirus patients says he only learned of his diagnosis from news reports
A Chinese national named Wan Yunbin has contacted journalists at the website Chita.ru and identified himself as one of the first two people infected with the coronavirus in Russia, as reported by state officials a few days earlier. Yunbin says he was never given his test results and he only learned of his diagnosis from news reports. He’s now concerned about his two-year-old daughter, who’s been quarantined because she was in contact with him.
On January 31, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova announced the first two laboratory-confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in Russia: one in the Zabaykalsky Krai and another in the Tyumen region. Both patients are reportedly Chinese nationals. Sources told the website Chita.ru that the infected person in the Zabaykalsky Krai walked into a local hospital seeking medical attention and was transferred to an infectious-diseases facility in Chita on January 26.
Wan Yunbin told Chita.ru that he was only hospitalized on his second visit to doctors, who initially discharged him. Spokespeople for the local governor’s office say this was because the patient’s coronavirus test results were negative the first time and positive the second.
Yunbin says he didn’t know he’d contracted the disease until he read about it in the news. “I’m just coughing is all. There’s nothing else bothering me. The doctors aren’t telling me that I’m infected and they’re not giving me my test results. It was from the news that I found out I might be infected. If it’s true, I want to apologize to everyone. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone anywhere. All I did was take my kid and wife on a trip to China. I didn’t know I could get infected,” Yunbin said in a message to Chita.ru.
He says his wife and two-year-old daughter have also been quarantined. The girl, a Russian citizen, is now battling a fever. Yunbin says doctors have taken blood samples from his family six times in the past week, but never once shared the test results. “We’d like to know the test results and know if we’re sick. If we’ve got the disease, my daughter needs urgent care,” he says.
Yunbin also sent Chita.ru a video from the infectious-diseases facility in Chita where he’s currently hospitalized. In the footage, he complains about the treatment conditions, saying, “It’s the end of the week now and a lot of doctors aren’t working. I’ve found myself in a situation where I don’t know if my child needs emergency care or whether doctors can provide it in time. In China, in a situation like this, the doctor stays near the patient around the clock.”
Spokespeople for the governor’s office told Chita.ru that the coronavirus patient and his family have been afforded “round-the-clock communication with medical personnel” and hospital staff are consulting with colleagues from Russia’s federal healthcare institutions. The governor’s office also says frequent test samples are necessary the monitor treatment response. A source told Chita.ru that Yunbin will be discharged once he’s finished his treatment and twice tested negative for coronavirus.
Translation by Kevin Rothrock
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