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A woman who escaped a mandatory coronavirus quarantine after allegedly being treated poorly by doctors has been ordered by a Russian court Monday to go back to the hospital.
The ruling against 32-year-old Alla Ilyina comes 10 days after she busted out of the facility in St. Petersburg by disabling an electronic lock in her room. Officials now want her to stay under quarantine there for at least two more days, although she has said she is not sick.
llyina was admitted to the hospital on Feb. 6 with a sore throat and was tested for the new virus because she had returned from China five days earlier. She left the next day after finding out she would have to spend 14 days in isolation instead of the 24 hours that doctors promised her.
In an Instagram post, Ilyina said doctors told her that she tested negative for the virus but still had to remain quarantined for two weeks.
“Wild,” Ilyina wrote. “All three tests showed I was completely healthy, so why the hell the quarantine?”
Several days later, Russia’s public health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor filed a lawsuit against her, asking the court to order compulsory hospitalization for her – culminating in the verdict announced Monday inside a St. Petersburg courtroom.
Ilyina’s defense lawyer argued during the court hearing that she didn’t pose any danger to people around her and noted that she was allowed into a courtroom packed with dozens of people, none of whom — including Russian health authorities — wore masks.
Ilyina had complained of lax protocol, poor conditions and uncooperative doctors during her hospital stay.
She had told the Fontanka newspaper that her isolation room was dire — no books, no shampoo, no Wi-Fi and a wastebasket that was never emptied. Frustrated, she figured out how to short-circuit the lock.
The court sided with health officials, who maintained that isolating Ilyina was a necessary measure to stop the virus from spreading, claiming it can be latent in a person for up to 24 days.
The lawsuit is clearly aimed to discourage other people from following her lead. The St. Petersburg branch of Rospotrebnadzor did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the effectiveness of the ruling, given that Ilyina has already roamed free for almost 10 days after escaping.
She reportedly was staying at her St. Petersburg apartment during that time.
Last week, at least three other people in quarantine for possible coronavirus infection fled the same St. Petersburg hospital.
Two of them have since returned while the third — a woman named Anna Rybakova, according to media reports — remains at large. Rospotrebnadzor has filed a lawsuit to bring Rybakova back to the hospital as well, and a hearing on that is scheduled for Wednesday.
The chief of Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, announced Monday that health officials were looking into introducing “harsher responsibility” for patients who violated quarantine rules and “stricter quarantine protocols.”
Russia has seen only two cases of the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus, two Chinese citizens who have been treated and released. Still, Russian authorities have taken vast measures to prevent its spread, including hospitalizing hundreds of people who returned from China as a precaution.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has also said that Russia may start deporting foreigners infected with the virus.
The virus, which emerged in central China in December, has infected more than 71,000 people, killing 1,770 patients in mainland China and five others elsewhere.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.