Moscow residents open homes to psychiatric patients, disabled children during lockdown

New York Post 22.04.2020

Arina Muratova, a market researcher, and Nina, a resident of Moscow’s Psychiatric Hospital N.22, take a selfie at a rented apartment provided by the Life Route foundation, where they will self-isolate together in Moscow.

MOSCOW – Moscow resident Arina Muratova knew something was wrong when the messages she received from Nina, a patient at Psychiatric Hospital No.22 who has become a friend during her voluntary work there, suddenly lost their usual, optimistic ring.

The hospital had gone into a precautionary lockdown, aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus and Nina, 26, was feeling more confined than ever.

“They were already living in isolation,” Muratova, who has volunteered for three years at the hospital in the city’s Elk Island park, said. “Now their (living space) had been shrunk to a tiny cube.”

Concerned about how fast the coronavirus could spread in the densely populated ward, Muratova decided to use a new government emergency measure allowing people to take residents of state institutions home during the lockdown to get Nina out.

Muratova, a 30-year-old marketing researcher, already had a flatmate, so she moved into temporary accommodation provided by her volunteer group, the Life Route foundation.

Nina, who has spent her life in children’s homes and then the psychiatric hospital, moved in with Muratova the next day.