No official quarantine planned for Belarus

Students of the Belarusian State University are heading for quarantine. Currently, 240 students and teachers of BSU are in quarantine. But there are no plans to cancel the classes. photo: VASILY FEDOSENKO / Reuters / Forum

The Belarusian Ministry of Health has responded to “panic” and criticism of “actions, or, as many believe, inaction” of the agency.

In their telegram channel, representatives of the Ministry said that the closure of the border is 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”.

“Are we ready to give up our youth, who study abroad, and other compatriots, and not let them home?” the agency is asking.

As for the possible closure of kindergartens and primary schools over the virus, the Ministry says that children get sick much less often and do not die of coronavirus at all. And they won’t be able to stay alone at home.

“Most likely, they will be under the care of grandparents, with whom they will generously share their viruses and microbes. But older people are the most vulnerable group with the highest risk of developing severe complications of viral infections (influenza, parainfluenza, adenovirus, measles, pneumonia) up to and including death,” the agency said, accusing supporters of quarantine of trying to “increase mortality in the older age group and increase the burden on the healthcare system”.

If full-time education at universities, secondary schools and high schools is stopped, the majority of students “will actively visit public places, organise hangouts and “theme nights” in dormitories and have close contact with each other,” the agency said.

“The world has always been filled with risk factors!”

The Ministry also does not believe that the additional restrictions will force citizens “to stop hiding the facts of visiting epidemiologically unfavorable countries, to pass by organized sanitary-epidemiological control points and to stop lying to health workers about the circumstances of their illness”.

“The world has always been filled with risk factors! And infections have existed, do and will exist, but it was the observance of hygiene principles in the early twentieth century that led to a reduction in mortality, so remember these rules now! Stop panicking and spreading delusional rumors. Let’s be nicer to each other! And, most importantly, remember that, first of all, the person is responsible for his health and his life and can affect the health of their loved ones. And that only with the joint coordinated action of the population and the health care system we can achieve great success,” reads the statement.

The agency notes that of all the patients, who were found to have coronavirus, only one patient, who applied late, whose condition is assessed as a medium degree of severity with positive dynamics. The rest of them are in a satisfactory condition. Some of them have already been discharged, some are preparing to be discharged, the others are still being monitored and their state of health is not alarming, the ministry stressed.

Meanwhile, the neighboring countries have already announced their decision about quarantine, including for citizens of other countries. Thus, Lithuania and Ukraine are closing their borders for foreigners from March 16. Poland has done it on March 15, while Latvia plans to do it on March 17.