School holidays extended again in Belarus

The spring school holidays have been extended for another week, state-run news agency BelTA reports with reference to the presidential administration. The corresponding proposal put forward by the Education Ministry and the Health Ministry was endorsed by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

At the same time, educational institutions have not been placed under quarantine.

Over the past month, it is the second time that the Belarusian officials have prolonged the holidays. Earlier, they were announced to last until and including 11 April. On Friday, a new date – April, 18 – has been set as the last day of the Belarusian schoolers’ play.

According to the Presidential Administration, the authorities took into account the epidemiological situation, the seasonal rise in the rate of acute respiratory viral infections and flu as well ‘the need to stabilise the situation’.

Notably, the Belarusian leader has repeatedly said that the introduction of tough quarantine measures and placing a curfew would not improve the coronavirus situation in the country. In his opinion, such steps migh do much harm to deal a crippling blow to the daily life of Belarusians.

‘Impossible to remotely milk cows’. Lukashenka still against quarantine measures

There are splits over closing schools and kindergartens under quarantine, because working people cannot leave their children unsupervised, Belarusian Health Minister Uladzimir Karanik said during Thursday’s press conference.

Opinion polls show that 40% of parents are against extending the school holidays,” he stressed.

As of April 10, the total number of the people who contracted the coronavirus infection has reached 1,981 in Belarus; 19 persons have died.

If Belarus imposes severe quarantine measures when the death rate is 18 per week, it would contribute to decreasing the number of coronavirus deaths even to 1,860, the Eurasian States in Transition Research Center said in its recent report referring to the British experts from Imperial College London.

On April 8, Minsk City Executive Committee approved a plan to ‘prevent and reduce the spread of acute respiratory infections, including those caused by COVID-19’. The list of measures includes the ban on holding mass events; the recommendation to switch to distance learning; the parents’ right to decide whether or not to send their child to school/kindergarten, etc. But still, imposing strict quarantine measures does not seem to be on the Belarusian government’s agenda as yet.

Belarus authorities defy coronavirus crisis, but ask EU for money to combat it