MINSK, 12 January (BelTA) - Some medical institutions in Belarus are returning back to normal, Belarus Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich said in an interview with BelTA on 11 January.
"Even before the New Year, before the holidays, we noticed a fairly steady declining trend in all regions. The same trend was observed during the holidays. Based on the available data, we decided that some institutions that operated in the so-called mode of infectious hospitals will return back to normal," Dmitry Pinevich said.
For example, maternity hospital No. 2 in Minsk is returning to business as usual. The National Clinical Hospital of Medical Rehabilitation in Aksakovshchina is gradually starting to receive patients in need of early rehabilitation after suffering cardiovascular and neurological diseases. A similar pattern is applied in all regions. The rest of the national research centers continue to operate as usual, the minister stressed.
As for the overall COVID-19 incidence rate, the real picture is somewhat more optimistic than predicted, Dmitry Pinevich noted. "The rate is even lower than we expected," he said, adding that "the country will have to live with coronavirus until the end of spring."
After the New Year and Christmas holidays, the number of cases of medical referrals is projected to increase, due to the so-called delayed referrals. This is an annual trend observed independently of pandemics. Then, as it is hoped, the incidence rate will go down but gradually. No sharp decline is to be expected. "I think the incidence rate will be declining until mid-to-late February and then perhaps increase a little in view of the seasonal cycle of diseases, in particular influenza," the minister said. “But the timely vaccination (more than 40% of the population has been vaccinated this year) gives us hope that the rise in the incidence rate will be small. By the beginning of the spring, we will see the effect of vaccination."
Dmitry Pinevich also noted a 10-15% decrease in the number of severe COVID-10 cases. The Healthcare Ministry analyzes the data on a daily basis (including weekends and holidays) during video conferences with representatives of all regions and the city of Minsk. The availability of the necessary equipment, including oxygen support systems, is monitored continuously. The issues of operation of healthcare facilities in connection with the onset of freezing temperatures are also in focus today. Attention is paid to uninterrupted heat supply, electricity supply, and oxygen supply. Healthcare institutions in all regions operated in a routine mode during the holiday season.