Greece’s COVID-19 ‘patient zero’ picked virus up at Milan Fashion Week

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Greek businesswoman, Dimitra Voulgaridou, was the first person in Greece diagnosed with coronavirus.

In a recent interview with 7 News, she revealed how her Milan Fashion Week trip in February left her and her nine-year-old son in a hospital isolation chamber.

“I never suspected a thing during my time in Italy. Everyone was out as normal, right up to the day of my departure,” Dimitra told the media outlet.

“I only understood the gravity of the situation when on my last night in Milan, some of the great fashion houses and showrooms announced they were cancelling all events because of COVID-19.”

Splitting headache:

On her return to Greece, Dimitra developed a splitting headache and fever, with doctors advising her to go to the hospital.

“Wearing my own mask, I took myself to the General University Hospital of Thessaloniki. I explained my symptoms and where I’d been, then they tested me,” she explains.

Dimitra and her nine-year-old son were place in an isolation chamber in a Greek hospital (as seen here in Italy). Source: New York Times.

“The first feeling that took a hold of me was fear. I was thinking of my health, the consequences for my nine-year-old son, my friends and family, and all the people I had been in contact with.”

Isolation Chamber:

Dimitra says her fears were recognised when the test returned a positive result for COVID-19 and she was told by doctors that she had to be put in a negative-pressure isolation chamber immediately.

“My son was tested and I was told he had to join me in the chamber… All I could think about was how hard it would be for a nine-year-old to stay isolated for so many days,” she says.

“Although I felt a great amount of pressure to make the experience bearable for him, my friends and family were amazing with their encouragement during that time.

“I was lucky to have their support, but of course, there were people who blamed me for bringing COVID-19 to Greece, which made me sad and perplexed.”

Negative comments aside, Dimitra says when she left hospital she knew her experience had a silver lining.

“I walked to my car and looked up towards the sky and said, ‘Thank you.’ If there’s one thing positive that can come out of this, I think it’s an opportunity to value your life.”

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