MINSK, 16 April (BelTA) – There is no avalanche-like increase in COVID-19 cases in Belarus, Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich told reporters, BelTA has learned.
“We see signs of another rise in coronavirus cases. However, the pace is not the same as it was in the autumn. There is no avalanche-like growth yet, but we do not really like the latest weather forecast,” Dmitry Pinevich said. He explained that the rain will force people to stay indoors most of the time.
At the same time, unlike in the previous waves, the growth rate of patients who are hospitalized with moderate and severe forms of COVID-19 is higher than the growth rate of those who are treated out-patiently. In this regard, the minister emphasized the importance of observing safety recommendations, like wearing masks and keeping distance.
On 16 April Dmitry Pinevich was the first to get a shot of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine rolled out by the Belarusian pharmaceutical company Belmedpreparaty. Employees of the Healthcare Ministry, senior officials of the Labor and Social Security Ministry will also get their jabs. The vaccine is now being distributed to all regions of the country. “We can officially declare that this batch is already in mass circulation,” the minister said assuring that the vaccine produced in Belarus has the same features as the one produced in Russia.
“We are very happy with our collaboration with Russian friends, because the Sputnik V vaccine is a perfect balance of quality, safety and price compared with other vaccines currently on the market,” Dmitry Pinevich noted.
He went on saying that “it might be easier for us to buy a vaccine somewhere, but we should bounce back from every situation with a new skill set”. Therefore, according to him, it was important to arrange a technology transfer. Moreover, work is underway on complete localization of the Sputnik V vaccine production. In a more distant future Belarus is set to roll out its own vaccine against coronavirus, “but it will be a vaccine of a different kind, not a vector one”.
The nationwide subbotnik [voluntary labor day] on 17 April will be held outdoors, so the Healthcare Ministry does not see any problem here. At the same time, the minister called for compliance with safety measures. Safety recommendations are available on the website of the Healthcare Ministry.