In this country there is a sufficient number of foreigners, including Russians, who are also worried and are in a “risk zone”. Since the symptoms of coronavirus in the initial stage is very similar to the common cold or flu, it is clear that many, beginning to cough, you start to worry: “And not caught it and I too?” Power Korea has said that any foreign citizens can be tested for COVID-19. Tests, but the price is reasonable. If you have coronavirus are confirmed, the government will return the money for the tests and treat the virus will be free. On the other hand there have already been reports that some foreigners began to take a “moderate”, and very solid money for the survey. Called numbers to 500-650 dollars.
the Correspondent of “RG” recently had a chance to personally experience how the system works. Just say: the Korean government does take money for analyses on COVID-19, but it is desirable to know some of the nuances so you don’t accidentally get too big expense.
the Night the message
a messenger in one of social networks at half past twelve at night I received a message from a stranger named Nastya: “Tell me, please, how much is in Korea to take the test for coronavirus? I have all the symptoms, I can’t find information. Now I am in Seoul.” The problem with this virus that is said, was at the hearing, and in the last days I work as a journalist but it did.
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I knew, presented a comprehensive picture and asked how she was feeling. Judging from the stories of a young girland, the situation was indeed serious.
She had previously studied in China, close to the already world-famous Wuhan, then for a time rested in one of the countries of South-East Asia, and in early February came to Seoul with my sister where living in a hostel. Since then, with breaks of the girl appeared “bouquet” of symptoms similar to a coronavirus: cough, fever, General malaise, and others. Antibiotics helped at first, but then the same thing happened. In the end, she went for tests at a nearby clinic, but was unable to be examined fully.
“I said I have all of the tests to pay 670 thousand won (about $ 620 approx. “RG”). I have no such money. I just left without passing the final analysis. Passport left there. Help, please. I really feel bad, but I don’t know what to do,” she wrote.
the Korean service 1339 for COVID-19
it also turned Out that the girl is a local phone there, and the connection only through messenger. Once in a desperate situation, she was going to go to the Russian Embassy in Seoul to ask for help.
in my head from a picture from the local news in Korea famously in recent days have closed for the long disinfection largest factories and shopping centers because of the appearance of one infected. If this girl is sick, the same thing could happen with the Embassy.
to make a Call she couldn’t, because, despite the onset of the first hour of the night, I decided to go for the designated Korean authorities for such cases options: to dial the number 1339, to tell and to “follow their instructions”. The girl told me in detail again about your symptoms, travel abroad, and also got rid of the contacts of the clinic, where she went and where she was billed.
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After ten minutes of negotiations with employees of the Korean call center, which is responsible for admission of all applicants for COVID-19, I have confirmed the General rule: analysis COVID-19 can take all comers. If the presence of the virus is not confirmed, then you will have to pay 120 thousand won (about $ 105), if it turns out that you are sick, then the money is returned to you, and all the future expenses on treatment take Korean authorities. This rule applies equally to Koreans and foreigners. However, up in the air question about why the score 670 thousand won.
I was redirected to the nearest to place of residence girls the clinic where they do tests on COVID-19. Coincidentally this was the same clinic where Anastasia was already gone. Calls to the clinic in the second hour of the night first much to no avail but I was able to speak with on-duty officers. In the end I was asked, “if the situation is not fatal”, then send the girl for tests in the morning, when the full will work all the services of the hospital.
please Contact the Embassy of the Russian Federation
After that, I decided to call the diplomats and ask for help. The work of the staff of our embassies abroad is often criticized, although I usually drove. When it was necessary, they helped me, because I was sure that in such a critical situation, assistance will be provided.
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on Duty at the Embassy, after hearing the story, gave the phone to the duty of the Consul, who was the employee of the consular Department attaché Maria Sidorchuk. Despite the second hour of the night, she listened carefully, assured that they take control of the situation, asking only write to Nastya, so she’s not worried, and in the morning she would be contacted. Then he told Anastasia about it and we decided that she would wait with the Embassy in the morning.
next day I was contacted by the Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Seoul Valery Guenkov, and then Maria. They confirmed again that they deal with this issue, and with Nastya they have directly communicated. A little later, already cheered Nastia wrote to me that “everything is fine” and she’s “waiting for testing”. A question about 670 thousand won was not, and she promised later to give details.
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the next day the Counsellor Valery Guenkov called me back and told me the results.
– Can breathe a sigh of relief, the girl tests negative, it has no virus, is what everyone is happy – both we and the Koreans, and Anastasia, he said.
– And how much it all cost? – I asked.
– As said officially, 120 thousand won, if the test is negative. If the virus is confirmed, the money would not have taken and would be treated for free, but not confirmed, that 120 thousand won. But this is a case when rather glad, that you have to pay, – said the diplomat.
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Then it turned out that the analysis of all clinics involved in this question is referred to 120 thousand won, but we have clearly to say that the only necessary analysis of COVID-19, no more. Nastya went to a large private clinic where she was sent for a standard doctor saw the symptoms and signs of some diseasestions, appointed examination, including chest x-rays and other tests. And in Korea medicine without insurance – it is very expensive, and therefore there was 670 thousand won, which scared Russian girl.
“the best option is to immediately go for tests in government clinics. They are in every district of the city, are called “pohono”. It is this COVID-19 delivered to the stream and not sent for examination to complete the program,” advised the Counsellor.
“we were Able to negotiate and help…”
However, the question is about 670 thousand won was still. Nastya was a significant part of the survey, handed over different analyses, and therefore the first clinic had reason to claim this money.
“Our employee, attache Mary Sidorchuk, which you previously spoke, was able to convince the administration of the clinic, asked to enter the position and not to take the money. Probably She did not immediately say flatly only about COVID-19, and therefore, given the symptoms she was administered standard examination to get to its health problems. Some health problems seem to have, but not a coronavirus. And in GOSTINICA “pogona” once tests only COVID-19 and all – has clarified it. Oh, and the administration of a private clinic went to meet and took no money. So 670 thousand was not paid. Fortunately, while the account infected COVID-19 in South Korea the Russians have not yet opened. I hope that will not” – said the diplomat.
the foreign Ministry once again reminds: Before going abroad to arrange the insurance!
Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Seoul Valery Guenkov asked for more time to communicate what the Russian foreign Ministry and diplomats say Russia always and everywhere: “Before you go abroad, take the money and arrange insurance for medical expenses”. Whether Nastia insurance, and in a private clinic she could pass the examinations and treatment for a reasonable price.
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“All hope that they will not touch it, but sooner or later someone abroad is either an accident or illness, when immediate help is needed. Just for this need insurance, otherwise you may get very large bills to pay for medical services. The Embassy does not have a budget, and don’t have to pay someone else’s improvidence in this regard. Therefore once again: please, before leaving to any country, including South Korea, arranging travel insurance. It is usually moderate, but allows you to feel safe,” – said the diplomat. On the other hand, he said he was glad that the story of Anastasia was resolved and everyone was satisfied.
“Thanks for the help!”
“I am very grateful for the help of our Embassy, especially Mary, who called about me, wrote Nasty to me when I asked about the results. – Easy access to the coronavirus not found in the first clinic took no money, and the rest of your sores continue to heal,” said the Russian.
If we talk about the technical side of the test COVID-19 in South Korea, in the beginning I had quite a long wait in the queue. Then there was a survey where the details figured out where, when, and where the girl went, with whom and what her symptoms are. Then measured the temperature, took a swab from the nose and mouth. The results were known very quickly – the next day.