5 April 2020, Sunday, 3:36
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Blogger: Belarusian Authorities Remain Completely Inactive

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Blogger: Belarusian Authorities Remain Completely Inactive
PHOTO: KP.BY

Quarantine will help the epidemic quickly decline.

Belarusian Andrei Vaitovich left the country almost 10 years ago, and now lives in France, where he works as a journalist and director. The quarantine introduced in connection with the spread of the coronavirus found the young man in Cannes. Andrei Vaitovich decided to keep a vlog during quarantine - about the measures France has introduced against the coronavirus, and what Belarus has done.

“According to the official data, 69 cases of the coronavirus have been recorded in Belarus. Lukashenka officially says that vodka and tractor will protect against the coronavirus - he said, “there is no coronavirus in the village, there is a sowing season, and the field is treating everyone.” I don’t think that vodka and a tractor are what Belarus needs. It is sad to see how Belarus is taking virtually no action. While the whole of Europe restricts the movement of people, transfers offices to remote work, disinfects transport and cancels mass events, people of my country go to work every morning in crowded public transport, visit bars and cafes, go shopping. Grandparents take grandchildren to school - at the risk of getting a virus that can become fatal for the elderly. People with chronic diseases travel to work by public transport, not completely understanding the risk involved,” Andrei Vaitovich writes on his vlog page on Facebook.

The author of “The Quarantined: Belarusian Man in France” channel agreed to talk about his vlog with Charter97.org.

- How did your blog appear?

- Despite the fact that I have been living in France for about 7 years, I still have relatives, friends and acquaintances in Belarus. Of course, I follow the news of the coronavirus pandemic. When the countries of Europe began to announce the closure of borders and quarantine, it became clear that life would change dramatically in the near future. But at the same time, I kept in touch with Belarusians. I am shocked that while all of Europe enforces quarantine, closes borders, disinfects transport and cancels mass events, nothing is being done in Belarus. Our people also go to work in offices, go by public transport, where, of course, there is no distance of one and a half meters, go to cafes and restaurants. The information system does not work well; the data on patients with coronavirus are not updated daily, although in Europe this information is provided at least once a day. Accordingly, some Belarusians who do not use the Internet, do not read blogs and independent sources, do not realize the seriousness of the situation. The actions of the authorities, or rather their absence, are difficult to understand.

- You mentioned that some people do not understand the seriousness of the situation. There are different versions, from conspiracy theory to new biological weapons. You are in Cannes, near Italy, in France there is also a fairly high number of the coronavirus cases. What is really happening, how serious is it?

- Conspiracy theories have always existed, and believe me, they will exist. Now it’s important to keep track of information from trusted sources. The situation is very serious - do not think that fools sit in the governments of the European countries, and impose quarantines just like that. The coronavirus will have a major impact on the global economy, this is obvious. But now this is not the main thing - only harsh restrictive measures will stop the spread of the virus.

When the number of victims in Italy exceeded the number of deaths in China, we can no longer talk about one epicenter of the spread of the virus. WHO now calls Europe the epicenter - and Belarus is also part of Europe. Another point: The Financial Times reported that during the pandemic, the pro-Kremlin media disseminate fake news about the coronavirus in several languages. The influence of the Russian propaganda in the Belarusian information field, unfortunately, is quite serious. I would recommend that Belarusians turn to authoritative Western sources and independent media, and not to believe propaganda.

- France, unlike Belarus, has introduced quarantine. How does it work?

- For the last four days we have been forbidden to leave our homes. We are allowed to go out only for five reasons - to the store, to work (if you can’t work remotely), to play sports or to walk a dog (you can’t leave your home more than 2 km away), to a doctor or to help a single relative. Each time you go, you need to have a printed out or hand-written form indicating the date and the reason you left home, with you. This document can be checked by the police at any time. The main message of the French government is to stay at home. Violation of the rules leads to a fine of up to 375 euros.

My days are now passing in strict accordance with the rules. It must be understood that while sitting at home we free up public spaces and contribute to the fight against the spread of the virus.

- The authorities of Belarus do not impose quarantine. At the same time, some employers transfer employees to remote work. What other measures can Belarusians take in the conditions when the state does not introduce quarantine?

- Those employers who sent their employees to work remotely did a great job. Of course, the most effective way is quarantine. This is evident from the example of China, where yesterday for the first time in recent months not a single case of the coronavirus was recorded. The incubation period of the disease is 14 days. The quarantine mode smooths the peak when a huge number of people can become infected at the same time. At-risk people may need a respiratory unit. If this happens en masse and at the same time, the healthcare system will face a collapse - this is already happening in Italy, and so far only in some cities in France, where the healthcare system is at a level incomparable with the Belarusian one. You need to understand that one person who does not experience symptoms, but who carries the virus, infects 2-3 people on average.

Now let's look at Belarus: open offices, shopping centers, confined spaces, sporting events, crowded public transport ... I urge the Belarusian authorities to impose quarantine. This had to be done yesterday. The sooner this is done, the sooner the epidemic will decline.

Ordinary people need to follow the WHO recommendations: wash their hands more often, avoid crowded places, and, if possible, work at home. Particular attention is given to people at risk, primarily the elderly, the people who have heart diseases, other chronic diseases. Let them stay at home, let them temporarily refrain from seeing their grandchildren - our schools are not closed, and children can carry the virus asymptomatically. A friend of mine convinced her mother with chronic diseases to take a vacation, and spend two weeks under an independent quarantine - if there is such an opportunity, this must be done. It is not known to what extent the situation will unfold, while the Belarusian authorities are telling us about vodka, tractors and unnecessary panic - and remain completely inactive.