LIDA, 26 October (BelTA) – I have never been against face mask wearing, but only doctors know how to use them properly, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he visited Lida District Hospital on 26 October, BelTA has learned.
The head of state said that after his recent statements about mask wearing and vaccination the self-exiled opposition called him a COVID dissident. The president stressed that he had never opposed mask wearing. Moreover, at the start of the pandemic Aleksandr Lukashenko closely monitored the production of PPE in Belarus and held talks with foreign partners on cooperation in the area.
In the head of state's opinion, however, only doctors know how to use protective equipment properly, while citizens, as a rule, do not observe all the precautions and recommendations when wearing masks, which means their use in this way is ineffective.
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that proper compliance with the mask wearing rules is useful. However, no one should be forced to wear them. “I would be glad if people who are at risk (healthcare, social services, trade, transport, culture, sports, and so on) wore masks indoors. But wearing a mask needs to be only their decision. We should not insist. If people see they need it, they will put this mask on,” the Belarusian leader said.
“My strict requirement is no one should be forced,” he stressed.
The head of state is of the same opinion in respect to vaccination: a vaccine may protect you from catching the disease or help recover faster. There is no need, however, to force people to get vaccinated. “The vaccine has proved its worth: you get sick less, and if you do get sick - you will survive. The decision to make a vaccine was a good one. I am in favor of vaccination. But you do not need to force everyone to receive a jab. I am against it,” said the president.
Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the Russian and Chinese vaccines against COVID-19, which are available in Belarus, have proved to be much better than their Western analogues, that is why the country buys these vaccines. Moreover, Belarus has already started producing the vaccine following the Russian technologies and, in the future, will have its own vaccine. Thus, it makes no sense to import Western analogues.