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Russian Hospital Fined for Coronavirus Patient ‘Cover-Up’

Russia has seen record numbers of Covid-19 infections and deaths in recent weeks, with its regions hit particularly hard. Vladimir Smirnov / TASS

A Russian hospital has been fined for concealing more than 1,000 coronavirus patients earlier this fall, with the regional health officials blaming the national authorities for a misunderstanding.

A court in the city of Ufa handed a 200,000 ruble ($2,600) fine to the Kuvatov Republic Clinical Hospital on Monday after finding them guilty of withholding information on about 1,414 coronavirus patients in September.

The republic of Bashkortostan, where Ufa is the administrative center, has reported 13,446 Covid-19 cases and 76 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The hospital’s failure to provide information to consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, which oversees the national Covid-19 response, has led to an “unconstrained” spread of the disease, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted the court as saying.

The hospital’s attorneys said they will appeal the decision.

A Kuvatov hospital epidemiologist was fined under similar charges in August, the state-run TASS news agency reported. The hospital was closed for two-week quarantine and its chief doctor fired after a patient there tested positive for Covid-19 posthumously in April.

The Bashkortostan health administration blamed Rospotrebnadzor for failing to provide a secure channel for the hospital to share the Covid-19 patients’ personal information, the RBC news website reported Tuesday. 

“There was no cover-up,” the administration was quoted as saying.

“All the data was sent to Rospotrebnadzor but not in the proper form. They were sent total amounts while Rospotrebnadzor demanded the patients’ personal data,” it added.

Authorities say Russia’s coronavirus infections have nearly tripled from 6.1 to 17.1 per 100,000 people. The total caseload has surpassed 2.1 million with record numbers of infections and deaths in recent weeks.

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