5 April 2020, Sunday, 3:17
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‘They Lost My Coronavirus Test, Assured Me I Was Healthy’

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‘They Lost My Coronavirus Test, Assured Me I Was Healthy’
NASTA ZAKHAREVICH

The Belarusian blogger has been persuaded her coronavirus test was negative for nine days.

Nasta Zakharevich will remember the March 14 Prague-Minsk flight for a long time to come. Feeling tension in the lungs, with 37,2 fever she was returning home from the Czech Republic, where the emergency situation had already been announced. She did an express-test for the coronavirus, and until today, there has been a legend it was negative, and the illness she still cannot recover from is flu, Belsat reports.

They lost the test results

The repeated test for the presence of COVID-19 in the body of 26-year-old Nasta Zakharevich was scheduled on March 26 in the city dermatovenerologic dispensary, where she is held under the observation of the doctors among other hospitalized “second level contacts”.

“The smear they took in the airport on March 14 was lost. They have just taken a new one. This means, I still can have the coronavirus, and I could have been infecting others throughout all this time,” the bewildered young woman says.

Most of her “roommates” in the dispensary do not have any alarming symptoms. Many have similar stories: they went abroad recently, turned to doctors upon arrival, and got into the stationary. According to new epidemiological rules, they will return home when the results of their coronavirus smear come back negative. Nasta was hospitalized on March 19, and were in no hurry to take the repeated test, as the patient said they took the smear in the airport five days ago, and there was no coronavirus. The dispensary sent an inquiry to the airport, and the response did not confirm there was Nasta Zakharevich’s test results in the system.

“I wanna cry, scream, and throw things! Why do they have to do everything in such a careless way? This is awful,” Nasta says.

According to her, she was in a great danger to get any kind of viral infection. Her immune system was weakened because of the flu she had suffered before her journey to the Czech Republic on March 9. On the fourth day of her stay in Prague Nasta experienced the symptoms everyone is so willing not to happen in the whole world now: severe dry cough, fever, and heaviness in the lungs when breathing. Exactly on that day, an emergency situation due to the coronavirus infection outbreak was announced in the Czech Republic.

Nothing extraordinary, strict protocol

In the international Minsk-2 airport, Nasta’s flight was met by the medical staff in the protective outerwear and face masks. “However, no one measured the temperature of the passengers, there was no disinfection, the people who looked sick were not taken out of the crowd, as they write on the website of the National Airport. A flight from some other country, which was on the list of epidemiologically dangerous ones, landed at the same time. Unlike us, those passengers were questioned which countries they had been to, and some of them were sent to take tests for the coronavirus,” Nasta recalls. She herself appeared in the queue for smear taking voluntarily.

Waiting for the test results, Nasta Zakharevich decided to live in self-isolation. In the sanitary service of the airport, they assured the girl by phone that “if no one contacted you, it means your coronavirus test came back negative. If you feel bad, call your local clinic so that they send you a therapist home.” The district therapist came unwillingly. He confirmed the young woman did not have pneumonia and revealed an unpleasant truth: they don’t take biomaterials outside medical institutions. Although the order of the Ministry of Health #296 dated March 17 “On the measures of rendering medical aid to the patients with respiratory infections and taking additional counter-epidemiological measures in the health care institutions”, in Claim 8.1 of Addendum 4 is is stated “To organize home-based taking of biological material for planned laboratory research.”

“Say thank you” for the test

On Monday, March 16 Nasta found out that some of her fellow passengers were provided with medical observation in the local clinics: the doctors were in constant contact with them, asked about their health condition, and promised to take a repeated test for the coronavirus in two weeks.

“These are the mistakes of the system. Some passengers of the same flight are observed, others are not. I had to address to the sanitary service of the airport again, and they assured me they had passed the test results to the sanitary station, which was supposed to inform the relevant local polyclinic. However, in the polyclinic they only shrugged their shoulders,” Nasta says.

The Minsker got armed with a thermometer, and spent the next two days talking to the sanitary station, where she finally got the response: “You should better say thank you for the coronavirus test you had, as no one was obliged to take it from the passengers coming from the Czech Republic at that moment (March 14). And those people who are under observation in the polyclinics, got such preference in violation of the existing protocol.”

The Czech Republic got into the list of countries, dangerous in the context of the coronavirus spread, two days later. The passenger of the Prague-Minsk flight was worried about her health condition, and the subconscious, as she says, distrust to the information about the first express-test for COVID-19. That is why, on March 19, she called the hotline of the Ministry of Health and asked to put her under medical observation, by way of exception. Then was another visit of the district therapist, stronger antibiotics, worsening of condition, and another call to the ambulance.

Nasta will be waiting for the results of the test for the presence in her body of the new strain of the coronavirus in the same ward, amongst the people who have no signs of respiratory infections, and the personnel, whose work Nasta estimates as extremely hard and diligent.