Two women being quarantined in Russian hospitals amid the coronavirus outbreak escaped after complaining of dire conditions upon their return from China, where the virus originated and has killed more than 1,100 people and sickened more than 45,000 others.
One patient jumped out of a hospital window and another disabled an electronic lock in order to flee their isolation. Both had complained of uncooperative doctors, lax protocol and poor conditions, and feared they would become infected.
Russia has only two confirmed cases of the virus, but authorities have taken measures to prevent its spread by hospitalizing people returning from China as a precaution. Both women were quarantined after returning from Hainan, a tropical region in China.
One of the women published a lengthy Instagram post describing her ordeal. She said her son came down with a cough and fever days after returning to their home in Samara. The boy was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and tested at a hospital for the coronavirus.
The boy responded to treatment but his test results had been delayed for several days, she said. She accused doctors of obstructing her when she pressed for information about her son. On her fifth day in the hospital, she took a home pregnancy test, which came out positive.
She argued with doctors, saying she and her son should be released because of the pregnancy and concerns of becoming infected. The doctor said they had to be held for 14 days. She was later questioned by police at home after her escape. No charges have been reported.
“Everyone in my family is alive and healthy, thank God,” she wrote.
The other woman, Alla Ilyina, also made an Instagram post saying she came down with a sore throat after returning to St. Petersburg from Hainan.
She was taken to a hospital and was told she would be released in 24 hours. She said she tested negative for the virus the next day.
“All three tests showed I was completely healthy, so why the hell the quarantine?” Ilyina wrote.
She complained of no Internet, books, shampoo and that her wastebasket was never emptied. She figured out how to short-circuit the electronic lock to her room and escaped from the hospital Friday.
The Fontanka newspaper published a video Wednesday reportedly recorded by other patients quarantined in the same hospital Ilyina fled from.
The footage shows two young women in what appears to be a patient room singing: “I want to be like Alla [Ilyina]” and a handwritten note saying “Let us out of here, please.”
It was unclear if authorities would pursue criminal charges against the women.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.