Mon, 30 Mar 2020

A Russian court on Monday ordered a woman to be forcibly returned to coronavirus quarantine in a Saint Petersburg hospital after she escaped and went home.

The Botkin hospital filed a highly unusual request for a court order to hospitalise 33-year-old Alla Ilyina, who fled her isolation room, complaining of inedible food and a lack of necessities such as shampoo later on social media.

The court ordered her "forced hospitalisation" and said it must be carried out immediately.

Court bailiffs escorted her to an ambulance after the hearing, local television showed.

Ilyina later posted a video from the clinic on her Instagram account.

"I'm going to honestly serve out my term," she said, during a mock tour of her quarantine quarters.

Ilyina had visited the Chinese resort island of Hainan, returning by plane on February 1. A few days after returning and being screened at the airport she developed a sore throat.

Doctors diagnosed her with "acute virus illness" that they said does not rule out the COVID-19 virus.

She was placed in 14-day quarantine on February 6 but fled a day later, according to the local health watchdog.

Ilyina complained online that she was confined to the clinic against her will with bland food and no fresh air.

She said on Instagram that she short-circuited the electromagnetic lock on her door and left after doctors told her her test came back clear.

The hospital's chief doctor responded by filing legal action for Ilyina's return.

She has to stay in hospital until at least February 19 and must receive two negative test results before leaving.

Her lawyer Vitaly Cherkasov from the rights group Agora said she would appeal.

Ilyina told journalists that test results had taken a long time and complained she would be kept in hospital "for as long as they want".

She has already been back in Russia longer than the presumed incubation period of the virus of 14 days.

Court officials did not wear face masks during the hearing, journalists reported.

On Monday, the same hospital also filed legal action against another woman, 32-year-old Anna Rybakova, who fled quarantine after Ilyina.

Two others reportedly also broke out of the hospital but later returned.

Russia has reported two cases of coronavirus, both Chinese citizens who have since recovered.

On Monday, the Russian embassy in Japan said that a Russian woman has tested positive for the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japanese coast.

The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped to 1 770 on Monday.

Russia and China share a border more than 4 000km long and Moscow has suspended rail links and restricted flights as well as halting visa-free entry for Chinese tour groups.

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