MINSK, 21 June (BelTA) - There is no need for compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 in Belarus, President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he spoke with the personnel of Minsk Children's Clinical Hospital No.2 on 19 June, BelTA has learned.
The hospital personnel said that Russia has recently witnessed a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and that the Russian authorities have been taking steps to introduce a mandatory vaccination. In this regard, the head of state was asked whether there were plans to introduce compulsory vaccination of workers against COVID-19 in Belarus.
“If such a situation arises, this principle will certainly be introduced. Thank God, there is no such need yet,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. The president added that he hopes that this outbreak of the coronavirus in Russia would soon be over.
The head of state plans to hold a meeting in a week to discuss the ways to improve the healthcare system in Minsk and combat the coronavirus. “We will take a look at the situation and consider what needs to be done. We have already gained a lot of experience in this area, and we know what to do. Nevertheless, the situation needs to be under the president's control as well. Both governors and officials are dealing with the problem. Everyone from the president to the doctor is doing their utmost to address the issue,” he stressed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that vaccination against the coronavirus is important, especially for workers who are in constant contact with a large number of people. “We strongly recommend it, especially to doctors,” said the head of state.
The hospital staff also touched upon another important topic for Belarusians: the possibility of traveling abroad during the vacation period. Aleksandr Lukashenko recommended to take into account the current situation and spend vacation within the country as all necessary conditions for it have been created in the country. At the same time, he stressed that there are opportunities to travel to resort countries through Russia due to the restrictions imposed by certain countries. “As for the Black Sea, Sochi, and Georgia, they are quite popular right now, and there are no problems with flights there, of course, given all necessary tests are performed,” said the head of state.
The president also mentioned Ukraine, which has imposed restrictions on the movement of people for Belarusians. “We save their people here and will continue to do this [Ukraine accounts for 85% of the export of Minsk Children's Hospital No.2 services]. They, however, decide to close their air space for us, and we have to make a circle around them to get to Turkey and beyond,” said the head of state.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that since Ukraine has closed its air space for the Belarusian aircraft, Belarus should provide an adequate response. Belarus will not accept any flights from Ukraine's territory. “We must create equal conditions for our Belavia aircraft. If we have to fly this way, we will force others to fly this way to Belarus too,” the president added.