The parade during the “plague” urgently needs to be canceled.
The coronavirus pandemic in the world has claimed the lives of more than 31 thousand people. At the same time, the Belarusian authorities and Lukashenka personally stubbornly continue to ignore the “viruses that fly around”.
Leaders of the Belarusian opposition and civil society announced People’s Quarantine in response to the authorities' inaction in the fight against the pandemic. They urge people, if possible, to stay home, avoid public events and not send their children to school.
Alena Tserashkova, a professional doctor and activist of the European Belarus civil campaign, has commented on the position of the Belarusian doctors in the fight against coronavirus, for Charter97.org news website.
- After the announcement of the People’s Quarantine, Belarusian doctors also started urging people to stay at home in the social networks. How would you comment on this?
- This is a very good message that medical professionals can give to the society. In general, when two social groups (in this case, doctors and patients) begin to communicate, this is always a plus. Our healthcare system is quite closed to ordinary people, so when doctors privately begin to explain to the people what to do, and turn to them using social networks, I see this as a clearly positive trend.
As for the People’s Quarantine itself, I want to say: this is a very correct process. Whenever possible, I tell people that we need mutual help. Now there is a need for isolation to reduce the risk of a mass epidemic, so we need to stay together separately.
The People’s Quarantine is the right way, and I welcome my friends and acquaintances who do not send children to school, who publish photos and videos about how they stay at home, give tips on how to avoid boredom, how to encourage children to learn something new. Many thanks to those museums that open their expositions on the Internet, to theaters that are ready to show performances online.
The People’s Quarantine has shown that we can do a lot without looking at this power.
- How do you assess the official position of the Belarusian authorities with regard to the coronavirus problem? What consequences can the fact that the borders of our country are still not closed, and quarantine has not been introduced in schools and institutions, bring?
- The strict quarantine introduced at the state level in Europe is a difficult and expensive measure for the state budget. Therefore, the Belarusian government does not want to take on the maximum costs. We all understand that the budget is not endless, and the state has always had its own views on it, not related to the support of the population. Therefore, it is natural that our authorities are in no hurry to declare quarantine.
In this situation, it is necessary to analyze the world experience. And it says that the moments of introduction and cancellation of the quarantine are dictated by the epidemiological situation. In general, I advocate that quarantine be declared not by government officials, but by specialists.
In our country, however, quarantine goes as self-isolation of the part of the society that can afford it under working conditions. Of course, this is not always easy, but we must gradually reduce the area of social communication.
Unfortunately, the authorities do not understand that the sooner we introduce quarantine, the easier and with less loss we will cancel it after. Then it will be easier for the healthcare system, and our economy will experience less shock.
I unequivocally advocate that the borders be closed in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the state should help its citizens return home. This is a proven worldwide practice.
Against this background, Lukashenka’s statements that he “will not take anyone out of anywhere” look at least indecent.
- Which of the European countries, in your opinion, is taking the most appropriate measures now?
- I like the position of Austria, where schools have closed, but there are still special opportunities for single working parents. I don’t know how it looks now, but it started so that the schools were closed, and single parents were allowed to leave their children in the classroom.
I like the appeals of the leaders of European countries to the elderly, who are urged not to leave home, because they are at risk. This is a very adequate position.
The cancellation of the Olympic flame transfer ceremony in Greece is another worthy deed of the Europeans. In this sense, our rehearsals of the “victory parades” are very annoying - both for me personally and for many Belarusians that I know.
Eighteen-year-olds will be driven somewhere all at once in the midst of an epidemic - they say they serve and should not be afraid of viruses and no other enemy ... But we know that children and schoolchildren are forcibly driven to watch these parades. This is simply unacceptable. I unequivocally advocate the cancellation of this parade.
- What is the likelihood that in Belarus the development of the epidemic will go according to the worst-case scenario?
- It’s hard to predict. The healthcare system seeks to take appropriate measures. We are doing everything that depends on us. We wear protective gear when there is suspicion, so not to transmit the virus to other patients. We take all sanitary and epidemiological measures recommended by epidemiologists. We, ordinary doctors, try to ensure that there are no worst-case scenario.
Figuratively speaking, much here will depend on who is the first to get sick. When officials on their own skin feel the lack of apparatus or drugs, they will react differently to the danger of the epidemic. Therefore, it’s really hard to say what will happen and under what scenario the events will go.
- And how do you comment on the numbers of infected with COVID-19, published by the Ministry of Health of Belarus? Indeed, 94 cases do not seem as serious as in the same Poland, where there are already nearly two thousand ...
- I know that during the “swine flu” there was an order to hide all deaths, even if there were suspicions that these people died from SARS. This also led to the death of some pathologists who did not know that they were dealing with bodies infected with the swine flu virus.
A similar situation can occur with any virus, and especially with COVID-19, given its dangerous nature.
The fact that the Ministry of Health does not tell the whole truth is obvious. They always do that, that's how a closed system works.
But I think that when there is a serious threat to national security and people's lives, doctors will find an opportunity to convey information to the population, no matter what the authorities do.