COVID-19 Global Diaries: ‘I returned to my country because it’s time for solidarity’

Ernestina Angarola was enjoying her medical residency in Spain. But when the pandemic hit she flew back to Argentina to help her country in its darkest hour

When I started my medical residence in Spain‘s Catalonia, there were a few confirmed cases of coronavirus, but we quickly began to experience a daily increase in the number of people infected. To face this situation, my hospital acted quickly with protocols and staff training, which defined criteria for swabbing patients, as well as treatments.

covid-19 medic

Ernestina on her way back to Argentina

Unfortunately these reinforcements were not enough, and cases and deaths were increasing day by day. Finally, a state of emergency was declared on 14 March. The quarantine began and my rotation was suspended. I was unable to work as a volunteer, so I decided to return to my country of Argentina. But the state of emergency in Spain coincided with a restriction of incoming flights from Argentina. Many of my colleagues were in the same situation as me, especially in Europe, so through the @medicosargentinosvarados account, we collected data from repatriated doctors. Finally, I managed to return to Buenos Aires.

Now I’m working at a hospital, which, like all the health institutions, is adapting and restructuring to change roles and reassigning tasks to face this very complex situation. Right now, everyone’s effort is important. It’s time for solidarity, time to put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

As professionals, we will be on the front line of care in hospitals. But everyone must help: collaboration is important and complying with the quarantine.

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