‘Artificial division’. Belarus MFA slams Russia for closing borders over coronavirus threat

Russia’s introducing restrictions on the entry of foreigners, including Belarusians, is indicative of some ‘artificial division’, Anatol Hlaz, Spokesman for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, said on Tuesday.

According to him, two cases of the novel coronavirus was ‘imported’ into Belarus from Moscow.

“Belarusians have not exported it to any country yet. We do not even want to think about the measures Belarus would take if we centered around the perspective of the Russian side,” he stressed.

The coronavirus issue can be successfully tackled only through joint efforts, the Belarusian MFA believes.

“75 years ago, we defended our common border from the external enemy. Unfortunately, Russians and Belarusians have been artificially placed on different sides,” Anatol Hlaz added.

No official quarantine planned for Belarus

On March 18, Russia will introduce 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, the press service of the Russian government reported on Monday evening.

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 notes.

However, on March 16, Belarusian President 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.

A few days ago, 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.

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