Man Dies Of COVID-19 After 10 Days In Detention Centre For “Unauthorised Mass Event”

In Osipovichi, after fighting COVID-19 for two weeks, Sergei Shchetinko, aged 57, died. According to his wife Alla, the man got infected in a temporary detention centre, where he was sent after the court found him guilty of participating in an unauthorized event. He and his wife and several other people were taking photos on a bridge. 

Alla Shchetinko and her husband were detained on 12 November. The woman was detained at work, Sergei – at home. The day before, they were taking photos in a city park. She says that police officers identified her husband by a bright jacket. Alla was released but Sergei was sent to the detention centre. The next day, there was a trial and a judge found the spouses guilty of participating in an unauthorised event. The woman was fined ten basic units, or BYN 270 [~$108/€88]. Sergei was sentenced to ten days in custody.

Sergei served his arrest in the Osipovichi detention centre and was released on the afternoon of 22 November, it was Sunday. According to his wife, he said that he felt as if he had caught a cold and recalled that for about a day he shared a cell with a man who had a high temperature before he was transferred to another cell. On Wednesday, 25 November, Sergei did not feel well at work and went to a clinic in the evening. He had a high temperature, about 38.7 °C, continues Alla Shchetinko.

He was given a sick leave on the same day, a nasopharyngeal swab was taken for PCR analysis. Alla underwent the same procedure the next day since she also felt unwell and believes that she was infected by her husband. Both spouses tested positive for coronavirus infection. Shchetinko spent the next two weeks at home. Once Alla called an ambulance for her husband: he complained of chest pain and had a high temperature. Doctors got his fever down but refused his hospitalization, explaining that there was no need for that.

Exactly two weeks after he first went to a doctor, Sergei went to the clinic. On 9 December, the doctor wanted to complete sick leave, but the 57-year-old asked to extend it until Friday. “Sergei explained to the doctor that he was not feeling very well. In addition, he was working on the street, he was a locksmith. He worked at the Osipovichi plant of reinforced concrete structures. Sergei told the doctor, ‘If I go to work on Thursday, I will come back to you on Friday.’ And the doctor extended the sick leave until Monday.”

Protests In Belarus: Minsker Beaten Up, Infected With COVID-19 In Detention

On Friday, 11 December, Sergei died. According to Alla, he went with his son to change the wheels in a car, said oops, fell and that’s it. A death certificate reads that the cause of death is unknown: the R99 code stands for “other inaccurately indicated and unspecified causes of death” [a TUT.BY editorial office has a copy of the document]. The woman says that her husband did not have any serious health problems before. She was told that in order to establish the causes of death, the materials were sent for examination to Mogilev, the result will be two months later.

“I don’t know what else to do,” says the widow. “The only thing I did is that I insisted that the doctor in the polyclinic at least prescribe additional tests for me. The coronavirus affected my intestines and liver. Apparently, it damaged Sergei’s lungs – he had a CT scan, which showed damage to 25% of the lungs, but the oxygen content was normal. Three days after the death of Sergei Shchetinko, he received a notice at work that he needs to pay for the time spent in the detention centre. Taking into account new circumstances, Alla Shchetinko does not yet know whether she will need to pay or not.