MINSK, 31 March (BelTA) – The Belarusian healthcare system is capable of successfully responding to the existing challenges, including those brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he met with Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Natalya Kochanova on 31 March, BelTA has learned.
The head of state stressed that the matter of virus diseases must not be shrugged off. “Moreover, judging from a digital analysis of the sickness rate I feel we are now at the peak. I am already praying for the peak to go down by Easter,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president emphasized that while fighting the spread of the coronavirus one should not forget that there are many other categories of patients that need medical aid as much. “Diseases other than viruses kill hundreds of times more people. We just focus on the coronavirus epidemic. We have patients that suffer from oncological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and asthma. We also have people that suffer from simple pneumonia without any complications. And the number of deaths caused by these diseases is hundreds of times higher than the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus,” the Belarusian leader noted.
In order to evaluate the situation, Aleksandr Lukashenko intends to soon analyze the death statistics in Belarus in Q1 2020 among other things and compare it with similar periods of past years.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said he had personally asked Natalya Kochanova to get to the bottom of the situation in Vitebsk last weekend. “You are a courageous person. A kind of a soldier that even worked in the problem region on a weekend. What do you think is going on there? I am not saying it is some catastrophe. Vitebsk Oblast has a different climate and the morbidity peak has shifted a bit. Yes, some errors were made. I would like to hear about them. The healthcare minister is working there today. I've sent him and specialists there. I want them to pay attention, analyze things and make conclusions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state also made a few comments about the death of a theater actor previously diagnosed with the coronavirus in Vitebsk. Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked the elderly man had also had other co-existing diseases. “The wife is healthy, she was living together with the husband, the daughter is healthy. Because they have a strong immune system. But he, poor guy, didn't make it. He was hospitalized with a bad case of pneumonia, his lungs were artificially ventilated, medics worked hard to save him,” he added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed it is necessary to take good care of the elderly in the current situation: “Not because they are old but because their immune systems are weak. And then they have a bunch of illnesses”. “If people fail to understand it, we can't do anything about it,” the head of state added.
At the same time Aleksandr Lukashenko does not advocate mass isolation. “Keeping people in stuffy apartments is not a good idea. We will kill them like that,” he is convinced. “Many problems are surfacing now that we should deal with instead of closing the border and keeping people indoors. We've always been told, you must remember: if you get a respiratory infection, flu and so on, you should go outside, breathe fresh air, and air your apartment.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that if people stay isolated in their homes, nobody knows whether they are healthy or infected already with something, not only with the coronavirus. “The virus is roaming. Neither you nor I know. I haven't taken the test. And I don't know whether I've already lived through the virus on my feet or not. The situation over there is the same,” he remarked.
According to the president, as a result people stay in their closed apartments in an atmosphere of viruses and often get hospitalized too late when their state is critical. “This is why I don't understand those, who advise isolation, shutting down, and fencing off. It is necessary to work like we've always done with pinpoint precision,” the head of state stated.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that over 100 people in Belarus have already recovered from the coronavirus. He thanked medics for it. “I would like to thank these medics. For their coming up with a combination of drugs to cure the people. Well done! But people should take care of themselves, too, particularly the elderly. Those, who are younger, have already had the virus and can handle it. There is no other way. But people should take precautions at the personal level where they can,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
The president reminded he has been closely monitoring the operation of the healthcare system recently. “The system has been created. The system should work like a clock. I cannot say it doesn't,” he remarked.
Yet Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out shortcomings in the work of medics. He mentioned that some medics are careless and do not always take the necessary precautions when they work with patients. “I know about more than ten first-tier medics in Vitebsk, who have got the disease from someone. Certainly, they are not a problem. But we get distracted to treat them. These medics should treat patients instead of our treating them. Thank god, they are strong people. But it won't do if medics neglect basic precautions,” the head of state believes.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection are being taken in Belarus. Among other things people coming from abroad are quarantined, every person coming into the country gets checked, contacts of all the infected are tracked down. “We are treating them where they should be treated. But we cannot restrict people in matters we shouldn't restrict,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
The president also talked about fake news and certain mistrust in the authorities on the wake of the coronavirus infection. “They say the authorities mislead someone… Listen, why would I want to mislead anyone? Did I create the virus in order to hide something from people or what? I didn't create the virus,” the Belarusian leader responded.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the overall situation is manageable and there is no catastrophe: “About 80-90 people are being treated in Belarusian hospitals now.” Moreover, other viruses, which have spread all over the world in the last few years, are now being detected in Belarus.
In conclusion Aleksandr Lukashenko said that it is always necessary to learn lessons from events like wars, epidemics, or pandemics. “We are learning a lot. I personally oversee several processes. It is too early to talk about it but I've already told people that time will come and I will talk about my observations, specialists will talk, and we will tell the public about these lessons. But these lessons must be learned. If today an economic disaster occurs or a disaster relating to human diseases, who can guarantee that things will not be even worse tomorrow?” the president wondered.