The coronavirus pandemic is a sensitive issue in Belarus, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said during Friday’s meeting with the local coronavirus response team in Vitsebsk region.
“The situation in the world is very stressful, to say the least. And the situation is not easy in Belarus either. We often say that the situation is not easy but under control,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.
The politician said he arrived in Vitsebsk to test the waters in the local healthcare sector. He recalled that the first wave of COVID-19 in Belarus started to spread from there.
“The region has accumulated huge experience in the treatment of people,” he added.
According to official information, Belarusian health professionals have registered 143,383 persons infected with the novel coronavirus since late February; 1,190 COVID-19 patients have died. 1,774 new cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours.
Starting December 4, state-run medical centres of Minsk will suspend provision of planned medical aid due to the epidemiological situation, the Ministry of Health reports. Medical specialists are tasked with treating patients having fever or signs of respiratory infection.
When COVID-19 started to spread in Europe, Alyaksandr Lukashenka repeatedly hit the international headlines due his careless attitude to the outbreak. In mid March, 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’.
Even on the back of the increasing infection rate, the Belarusian authorities did not introduce any quarantine measures in the spring of 2020. Alyaksandr Lukashenka claimed that imposing a nationwide lockdown would not improve the situation in Belarus. In his opinion, such steps might deal a crippling blow to the daily life of the nation. Although the Belarusian leader admitted that the recommendations by the WHO should be studied in detail, he stressed the country would run its own course.