On March 20, Belarusian opposition leaders and public figures addressed the citizens of Belarus. They called for the People's Quarantine, whose main goal is to stop the coronavirus pandemic in Belarus. The quarantine will be in force from March 23 to April 5.
The Charter97.org website asked one of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition, Mikalai Statkevich, for a comment. He has put his signature under the appeal to the people.
- Any decent person understands the danger of the situation. I will not hide that at the beginning, like many people, I underestimated the problem. But having received information from professionals, we understood what was going on.
You know, there is a huge contrast between the actions of politicians of democratic countries and those of Belarus. If in the West they do everything possible to save people (especially - older people and those who have a weakened immunity), then criminal inaction is taking place here.
What is going on cannot be called a fight against the epidemic. Especially after Lukashenka's public statements. You just listen to him and think whether he is an adequate person. It's time for him to see a psychiatrist.
When the British government addresses its citizens and says directly that you can simply not get many of your relatives back from the hospital, we hear crazy suggestions from the so-called first person, saying, "drink vodka, drive a tractor". So, does it mean that Lukashenka wants that, in addition to older people, Belarusians would die from alcohol abuse?
The basic thing is that alcohol destroys the immunity.
You know, just yesterday I saw a huge number of drunken companies in the street. Somebody drinks from despair, somebody else believes in TV. The so-called first person said, "let's drink," and somebody rushed to drink. Something terrible is happening.
I have the impression that Lukashenka just wants to reduce the burden on the pension fund.
That's why we have supported the idea of the People's Quarantine. Now all hope is that people will jointly protect themselves and their loved ones.
- Does the People's Quarantine initiative have any potential?
- You know, there's a lot of potential. I think that today we can get the authorities to introduce the quarantine at least in schools and kindergartens. Students can force universities to close for quarantine. Some private company employees can work remotely from home. As for those working at state enterprises, it's more difficult.
But even here, everything depends on us - we must unite, negotiate, if there are many of us and the whole team does not come to work, then no one will be fired.
Entire industries have already suffered from the coronavirus: tourism, transportation, trade, services... The decent countries have already adopted special programs to help citizens and the economy as a whole during the epidemic. And only in Belarus, the "socially oriented" policy of the regime has turned out to be a deception. The people are simply left to sink or swim.
There is only one way to defeat the pandemic and the total degradation of Belarus - to remove Lukashenka from power. The presidential election should be held without this man. But this is tomorrow. The main thing today is to save lives.
- Professional physicians have already started to join the People's Quarantine. How would you assess the actions of the Belarusian authorities during the coronavirus epidemic?
- As for the actions of doctors, I would like to share my wife's opinion, she's an epidemiologist. She believes that doctors will do everything possible to save people in the conditions of state stupidity. They will fight for lives, die, but will keep silent. Not everyone will have the courage, as the chief physician of the 3rd Minsk City Children's Clinical Hospital, to get up and say "stay at home". To say that it is necessary to introduce quarantine and that everything is very serious. The majority will keep silent, die with the rest and diagnose themselves with "pneumonia" and "diabetes".
Yes, there are a lot of real professionals, but one should be not only a professional, but also a citizen of his country.
- What advice would you give Belarusians in order to protect themselves during a pandemic?
- Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Let there be as few social contacts as possible these days. As few meetings as possible. It has been said a hundred times about the personal hygiene, so when you come from the street - wash your hands with soap, wash your face, advice from me - wash your nose as well.
Also take care of your immunity. If you have strong immunity, you can defeat the virus when infected.
Try to use public transport less. If there's an extreme need, you can walk. You'll raise your immunity, and you won't infect people. Eat more fruits and vegetables. You don't need a lot of money - you buy cabbage, ferment it. Every housewife can do that.
And the most important thing is to have more positive emotions. The spring time, the sun, besides - Lukashenka's regime is coming to its end. It's just so happening.
I think that good news will follow in a short time. The fate itself is leading Belarus out of the impasse. Join the People's Quarantine.