Without panic and symptoms: what really happens to Diamond Princess tourists in hospital

Citizens are afraid of the spread of the Chinese virus, they don’t believe that there will be enough doctors and seats in hospital for everybody and are getting ready for an “assault”

Without panic and symptoms: what really happens to Diamond Princess tourists in hospital
Photo: tatarstan.ru

A plane of the Ministry of Emergency Situations delivered eight passengers of Diamond Princess ship from Tokyo to Kazan on Sunday night. Panicking messages with urges to stay home immediately began to spread in social networks and messengers. Realnoe Vremya’s correspondents visited the Republican Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases on 25 February and found out the details about the patients’ state, the conditions of their stay in the capital of Tatarstan and the measures taken to prevent the dangerous disease from spreading.

Panic is maturing in Kazan

“The coronavirus is officially in Kazan,” it is written in social networks. “It is not a joke and spam. The Republican Clinical Hospital is in quarantine, Vlad took eight people to the hospital for infectious diseases yesterday. Accident and Emergency is closed, people are received in hazmat suits, the car is disinfected after every patient. The RCH IS IN QUARANTINE AND CREATES A FUSS. No shopping malls and crowded places. Don’t go out without a mask.”

Obviously, having heard about the delivery of patients to the Republican Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases on, the citizens of Kazan mistook the clinic for the RCH. But the Ministry of Health denied the information that the clinics closed for quarantine.

Realnoe Vremya was also resent a record of voice messages from Blagoveshchensk that is going viral in Kazan chats like a virus: a female resident of the Tatarstan capital says that the Chinese and Russians are freely crossing the border and going from Blagoveshchensk to Heihe and back:

“All customs are working, our border was closed only for two days because of Chinese New Year. The Chinese keep freely going back and forth, we are waiting for the moment when push comes to shove. Their morbidity rate is growing by 500 people a day. When this starts here, we will simply die without help, we won’t have enough either doctors or hospitals. The peak of the epidemic in China is forecasted for February-Match, while the morbidity rate is going up. And it will come to us! The virus easily penetrates through masks or is transmitted through door handles, everyday items,” the resident of Kazan writes and adds that she is now going to a wholesale depot to stock up on food: “I will buy a sack of flour and sugar”, and she will sit at home all the time.

Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent went to the Republican Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases and didn’t detect any sign of “disorder” and “fuss” near the clinic. Photo: Yekaterina Ablayeva

“Life goes on as usual”

The Ministry of Health of Tatarstan is urging to stop such panic and assures that there is no reason for it. Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent went to the Republican Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases and didn’t detect any sign of “disorder” and “fuss” near the clinic. The lettering next to the entrance read that no visits were allowed, but it had time indicated for parcels.

A security guard on duty didn’t prohibit anybody from entering the territory. A woman went through the barrier together with the correspondent. Irina headed to see her doctor in the polyclinic, which was near the hospital. In answer to the question about the situation in the clinic, the woman replied:

“I am not going to the hospital. I need to see a doctor. It is on the other side. So we don’t come across the patients who are in the hospital for inpatient treatment.”

A family with two little boys was going towards the courtyard of the hospital. The head of the family explained:

“I have been discharged. I have had my stomach treated in the hospital. I haven’t heard anything special about the patients who contracted the dangerous flu.”

A security guard on duty didn’t prohibit anybody from entering the territory. Photo: Yekaterina Ablayeva

Another man who went out of the building of the hospital for infectious diseases said:

“I did tests. Something is said about the coronavirus. But life goes on. If I need to get examined, shouldn’t I come, should I?”

There weren’t fighters of Russian Guard in the courtyard of the hospital, they were clearly on duty inside the hospital, next to the unit with the coronavirus patients. When the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya approached the unit for inpatient treatment, it turned out it was forbidden to get closer to it. Another security guard, who seemed to have a higher rank, explained:

“I won’t say anything about Russian Guard. I know nothing. Shooting is prohibited here. If you want, I will call the Admissions Office and learn if the head doctor will receive you.”

A minute later, the guard replied the head doctor wouldn’t receive me, all questions needed to be asked through the Ministry of Health. While a passing by female worker of the hospital for infectious diseases said the clinic was working as usual.

Eight Russians, four of whom are residents of Tatarstan, were put in 14-day quarantine in the Professor A. Agafonov Republican Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases on Prospekt Pobedy Street. Photo: tatarstan.ru

“Because four of them are citizens of our republic”

The plane An-124 operated a flight from Tokyo to Kazan on the instruction of a quick response team preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the Russian Federation. Eight Russians, four of whom are residents of Tatarstan, were put in 14-day quarantine in the Professor A. Agafonov Republican Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases on Prospekt Pobedy Street. 13 employees of the hospital will be in quarantine with them. As head of the press service of the president of the Republic of Tatarstan Liliya Galimov told Realnoe Vremya, it is three doctors, six nurses and three cleaners.

“Considering that the people from the cruise ship were on the liner, we tried to create them as comfortable conditions as possible, including psychologically comfortable conditions,” Galimova stressed. “As they were on holiday with their families, they were placed in boxes with their families. They are feeling fine now, they don’t have a temperature, cough and other signs of the disease. President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov explained the reason why precisely Kazan was chosen to place the Diamond Princess tourists as early as 23 February:

“Firstly, it turned out that four of them including a child, are citizens of our republic. Secondly, we have a hospital meeting all requirements and norms, we have a trained staff.”

Rustam Minnikhanov: “We have a big hospital meeting all requirements and norms, we have a trained staff”. Photo: tatarstan.ru

“They don’t have any symptoms”

“The patients from the ship are fine, they are provided with everything. Medical examination and laboratory control are done every day, thank God, nobody has temperature, neither do they have a cough, a runny nose,” head of the Tatarstan anti-coronavirus office, Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Leyla Fazleyeva tried to dispel the fears that the Diamond Princess tourists who arrived in Kazan would become a source spreading the disease in Tatarstan.

When asked a clarifying question if three of the eight tourists who were in Kazan had the coronavirus and measures taken to treat them, Fazleyeva replied:

“They are really [only] under medical supervision. They don’t have any symptoms.”

Leyla Fazleyeva said about other safety measures too:

“The flight [of the MES’s plane with the tourists] was operated in special conditions, the crew and people who accompanied them are workers of Russia’s consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor and doctors worked in special means of protection, they feel fine, their temperature is normal.”

Leyla Fazleyeva said that Russian Guard was protecting the block of boxes where the tourists were accommodated. Photo: tatarstan.ru

Leyla Fazleyeva said that Russian Guard was protecting the block of boxes where the tourists were accommodated. And this seems to be a prevention measure not only in case the coronavirus goes outside the clinic but also in case protest moods because of the “import” of its carriers to Kazan break out among the locals. Fortunately, there aren’t such moods in Kazan so far.

By Inna Serova, Yekaterina Ablayeva
Tatarstan