Russia Arrests Activist Who Delivered Gear to Hospital

Group brought masks, gloves to medical staff
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2020 12:20 AM CDT
Russia Detains Activists Delivering Gear to Hospital
Workers erect a new hospital on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 2, 2020.   (Denis Voronin, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)

Russian police detained activists trying to deliver protective gear to a hospital on Thursday amid the growing coronavirus outbreak and widespread reports of shortages of masks and hazmat suits. Members of the Alliance of Doctors union, supported by opposition politician Alexei Navalny, started a fundraising campaign this week to buy protective gear for hospitals in need. On Thursday, the union’s leader Anastasia Vasilyeva and a group of activists drove to a hospital in the Novgorod region, northwest of Moscow, with the first batch of masks, gloves, hazmat suits, and protective glasses. Police stopped the group on the highway and slapped them with fines for violating lockdown regulations, the AP reports.

The group got to the hospital and delivered the gear, but then Vasilyeva was detained again, reportedly for defying police orders. Footage of the arrest activists posted on Twitter shows a dozen police officers gathering around Vasilyeva and two of them dragging her into the station. Navalny retweeted the video on Thursday night, saying: "Why are they harassing this person, because she brought masks for the doctors?" Russia reported 4,149 cases of the new coronavirus on Friday. Despite the government assuring that Russia’s health care system is fully prepared to deal with the epidemic, doctors and hospitals all over the country have been regularly complaining about the shortages of protective gear and medical equipment.

(More Russia stories.)

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