Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has made a controversial comment on the death of Vitsebsk-based actor Viktar Dashkevich who was infected with COVID-19.
According to him, the deceased person had a number of other chronic diseases.
“The man [Viktar Dashkevich] is shy of 80 years; why are you walking down the street and, what is more, why are you working? No doubt, we should protect old people, because their immune systems are compromised. And secondly, they have a bouquet of diseases,” the Belarusian newspaper Zvyazda quotes Lukashenka.
On March 30, it became known that Mr Dashkevich was put on a lung ventilator in the intensive care unit. A day later, he passed away.
“[Dashkevich’s] wife is healthy (she shared a flat with her husband), the daughter is healthy, because they have strong immunity. But he poor thing broke down. Look, he had been in retirement for over ten years. But he went to work. I do not criticise him. Apparently, he was a brave person, but one needs to be careful now. And if people don’t understand it, we will not be able to do anything.”
Over the past month, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has gained notoriety for his careless attitude to the pandemic of COVID-19.
On March 16, he shared with the newly appointed officials his own ways of fighting infections, including the novel coronavirus. He advised going to a dry sauna, claiming that the virus dies at 60 degrees; more frequent handwashing, regular diet, and… drinking some vodka are also on his list. Later, he called the situation ‘psychosis and foolishness’.
Last week, Lukashenka promised that despite the coronavirus, no festivities on the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War would be canceled. What is more, introducing quarantine measures is not even considered at the official level. There are sports competitions with fans in the stands. The head of Belarus plays sports and shares antivirus observations.
To date, the Belarusian Health Ministry has officially confirmed two coronavirus deaths. However, the total number of the infected is still not reported: the ministry started to withhold the statistics on COVID-19 patients.