Lukashenka: Thousands are eager to attend 2020 Victory parade in Minsk

Not a single Belarusian will be compelled to show up at the parade that Minsk is about to host on May 9, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said when talking to his Moldovan counterpart Igor Dodon on Monday.

According to him, there is no reason to call off the Victory parade as the situation is ‘normal’ despite the lack of quarantine. He expressed confidence that the event would not do any harm to the participants’ health.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka. 4 May 2020.

“We have examined a lot of options. After studying all the information I came to the conclusion that we cannot cancel any of these activities. We will not cancel any event. But, of course, given the situation, we are applying very stringent standards in the organisation of these events. We will not drag anyone to these events,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

A day earlier, Lukashenka confirmed his readiness to get the parade staged even amid the outbreak of COVID-19. In his opinion, the authorities do not need to urge people to attend it as there are ‘thousands’ of volunteers. At the same time, the Belarusian leader vocally demonstrated understanding for those who are afraid of taking part in mass events in the time of the pandemic.

“So, if you see in some media that Lukashenka has gone mad and is doing bad things, do not listen to or read them. We are not so stupid to strike a pose and show off our toughness,” he asked Dodon.

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As of May 4, the Belarusian Health Ministry has registered the total of 17,489 persons infected with the nevel coronavirus, 103 COVID-19 patients have died. However, the Belarusian authorities have not introduced any tough quarantine measures yet. President Lukashenka believes 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 head of state admitted that the recommendations by the World Health Organisation should be studied in detail, he stressed the country would run its own course.

It should be noted that the WHO has never urged the authorities to place the country under curfew. Its experts concluded at the end of its assessment of the country’s response to the pandemic that Belarus needs to introduce community-wide steps to increase physical distancing, e.g. postponing large gatherings, placing in quarantine contacts of confirmed patients, introducing options for teleworking, and distance learning for educational institutions, etc.

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