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A story of Belarusian man cured from COVID-19

Andrei Antonau 

On March 16, the 24-year-old Minsker Andrei Antonau tested positive for coronavirus. Nineteen days later, the man was discharged from an infectious diseases hospital. His mother and friend are still in the hospital.

Andrei told Euroradio where he got infected, the signs of the disease he and his family had and how Minsk doctors treat COVID-19.

He spent two days after the test at home 

Andrei contracted the coronavirus in Berlin in early March. He and his friends came to the German capital for a Diiv concert.

"There were not many COVID -19 cases in Germany at the time. We had been planning the trip for a year, so we decided not to give it up. We went there on March 6, and the concert was on March 8. The next day I felt sickness and a headache. On March 13, when I was already in Minsk, my temperature rose to 37.5, I had a headache and my eyes hurt. I decided to go to the local GP because I'm rarely ill. I don't often have a fever," says Andrei. 

It turns out that in Andrei's case, the incubation period of COVID-19 was 5 days. The doctor asked him about the recent trip to Germany and gave him a referral for a coronavirus test. An ambulance came to get him and took him to the 6th City Clinical Hospital. On that day, recalls Andrei, there were many students of the Belarusian State University who had been brought there for the coronavirus test.

"In addition to the smear, I took standard tests -- full blood count, ECG, lung X-ray. Everything was okay, they let me go home. The coronavirus test results took two days to arrive. They promised to call me if it would be positive. That's what actually happened. On March 16th at 2 a.m. they called me back and said I had two hours to pack things for the infectious diseases hospital. Mom was in shock, of course! 

Belarusian doctors bring coronavirus patients to the infectious diseases hospital / Reuters.

According to official statistics, Mr. Antonau became one of the 36 citizens of Belarus, who had the COVID-19 confirmed.

"By the way, I felt absolutely healthy at that time. I had neither fever nor a headache," said Andrei. "Having studied my contacts, the doctors also isolated my parents, disinfected our apartment. They also contacted my friends, with whom I went to Germany. My mother and a friend had COVID-19 confirmed. I was surprised that all of us had it because in Germany we lived in a hostel, we were always in contact, could drink from one bottle.

Antibiotics and a drug for malaria 

Andrei Antonau went through COVID-19 with almost no symptoms. At the hospital, he complained that his nose was a little blocked, that's all. In 19 days he spent in a sealed room of the infectious diseases hospital, Andrei managed to read almost two books and watched Guy Ritchie's new film Gentlemen.

"The atmosphere was calm, because the doctors supported us, we didn't notice their anxiety. It felt like they were sure of what they were doing. The nursing staff explained all of the prescriptions and the medications they were giving us". 

All the friends and family called, wrote him every day, asked his their health condition, supported morally. Almost everyone was shocked. Although there were those who were not surprised because they had warned us before the trip.

City Clinical Hospital of Infectious Diseases /

For the first two days, before getting a negative flu test, the medics gave Andrei an antiviral drug, and then -- only a solution of furacilin to rinse his throat. His neighbors, men in their 40s and 50s, had their disease develop differently.

"I was in a three-person room. Two roommates with confirmed coronavirus had symptoms: cough, body scrapes, fever. Pulmonary X-rays showed unilateral and bilateral pneumonia. But no one was panicking. Only once did they get worried when a 50-year-old neighbor had a hard time breathing. 

Doctors treated pneumonia with hydroxychloroquine and antibiotics. Eventually, a 50-year-old man discharged along with me on the same day. The second one was recovering quickly too, but tests still showed the presence of the virus in his body," Andrei said.

"And how did your mother and friend get the disease?"  

"Mom, like me, is ill with almost no symptoms. Only once the temperature rose. She's still in an infectious disease hospital. To be discharged, you have to get two negative tests in a row. 

My friend's still on treatment, too. He's been symptom-free for almost two weeks, and one day his fever went up to 38 and his blood oxygen level dropped a little. Doctors suspected pneumonia, gave him two jabs of ceftriaxone, gave him an oxygen tube. But he got better quickly, now he's waiting for negative swabs.

Andrei's hospital was closed on April 4th, the same day he was discharged from the hospital. The guy went to work and feels healthy. 

Doctors at the infectious diseases hospital consider repeated infection with COVID-19 unlikely, as the patient produces antibodies to the virus.