Shutting down borders is utter nonsense even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said during Thursday’s meeting with top officials, epidemiologists and virologists.
The fact of the WHO’s declaring COVID-19 a pandemic barely matters as Belarus has always been sensitive to fighting infections, the Belarusian leader stated. According to him, a number of countries make a huge mistake when closing their borders to non-citizens.
“It is perfect and sheer foolishness, which is proved out to be true these days. And in no way do such measures protect Russia. In addition, they are selective in closing borders. But that is their business. [Our] people will assess everything that is happening to us in the wake of sealing off borders. The situation when people cannot get home has been artificially created in the world. We need to do our best to ensure our citizens’ return in the near future. They should be at home and stand safe and secure,” Lukashenka said.
People could be more hit by panic attacks than by the coronavirus, he believes. In his opinion, the situation is nothing but ‘psychosis’.
“I am absolutely sure that this is another psychosis that will play into someone’s hands and, at the same time, will do harm to others. But we are going through a certain situation and, of course, must act as the circumstances (at home and abroad) dictate,” the head of state added.
On March 18, Russia introduced temporary restrictions on the entry of foreign citizens to the Russian Federation, including citizens of the Republic of Belarus, to counter the further spread of COVID-19. According to the Russian side, Belarus was notified about the planned measures in a timely manner during a telephone conversation between Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and his Belarusian counterpart Syarhei Rumas on March, 15. No objections were expressed during the telephone conversation between the prime ministers, the press service of the Russian government noted.
However, on March 16, Alyaksandr Lukashenka blasted Russian authorities for their intention to close the border with Belarus. He stressed that Belarus should be afraid of Russia ‘affecting’ it, because it is them who ‘have a fire’. “So we should be afraid of this situation, why are you afraid of Belarus?” he added.
In turn, the Russian government called the statement by Lukashenka ‘perplexing and highlighted that the assertion that all of Russia is ablaze in coronavirus did not reflect reality.
Last week, the Belarusian Health Ministry said that the closure of the border was unable to prevent the entry of coronavirus, as ‘7 out of 8 cases of imported coronavirus infection were found precisely among the Belarusian citizens, returning to their homeland from abroad’. As for the possibility of shutting down kindergartens and primary schools over the virus, the ministry stresses that children get sick much less often and do not die of coronavirus at all.