Belarus now faces the most dangerous period since the coronavirus epidemic has begun.
Coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign Dzmitry Bandarenka commented Charter97.org on the epidemic, revolts of physicians and the campaign initiating the signature collection for participation in "presidential elections".
- Every day independent mass media publish information about new outbreaks of coronavirus infection in Belarus and deaths from it. How do you assess the situation with the coronavirus epidemic in our country?
- A couple of days ago, Sweden, being a symbol of order and financial prosperity for post-Soviet people, turned out to have the greatest number of deaths from coronavirus per capita. To date, Sweden has about four thousand deaths due to COVID-19.
The situation is maddening for Sweden, but the real leader on this list is Belarus. The number of deaths due to coronavirus here is undoubtedly higher. My assessment is as follows: Belarus has lost over 10 thousand people due to coronavirus. The assessment is based on the information we receive from the Belarusian regions and a comparative analysis of the coronavirus situation in the European countries that have a roughly equal number of residents.
The situation in our regions was predictable. Lukashenka's idiotic and criminal policy line during the epidemic caused it. The lack of quarantine measures and the attempt to develop herd immunity resulted in madding figures even in Sweden that could have been avoided.
The situation is much worse in Belarus; the level of our medicine is much lower. Belarus is now experiencing the worst period of the epidemic and is the most dangerous country in the world, regarding the risk of dying from coronavirus and pneumonia.
- Babruisk has had an open conflict on the part of physicians of the hospital who prevented BT TV channel from filming the propaganda story. What do such stories demonstrate?
- It proves that Belarusian physicians have run out of patience. Such stories may become common if the authorities do not come to their senses. Belarusian medical professionals are people who risk their lives working in very harsh conditions. Physicians and other medical workers put their families at risk. This situation is reminiscent of the events of World War II, when not only partisans but their families shot dead by the Nazis, were risking their lives.
People who risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones get pennies. The authorities have money for parades, Slavic Bazaar, July 3, and there is no money for physicians.
I would recommend medical professionals to use the strike threat to get what they really deserve in the conditions of high risk and take everything they need to treat patients properly. I believe that the vast majority of Belarusians will take the side of physicians.
Medical professionals have fallen victims of the policy of the authorities, as they tackle an unsolvable task. Normal countries detected COVID-19 and first or second level contacts under severe quarantine conditions. Some serious patients were taken to hospitals; some of them were treated at home under supervision. Within a month or two, the number of new infections dropped dramatically. The health care system could provide aid to the vast majority of serious patients. Yes, the situation was different in Italy and Spain, but they were the first to face the epidemic. Others learned from their experience. The Belarusian physicians have been facing a continuously growing flow of coronavirus patients for two months already. Demonstrative parades, concerts, clean-up days and sports competitions, absence of quarantine have caused such maddening events.
While most countries in Europe cancel quarantine measures today and physicians can take a breath, our specialists are still fighting. After all, the human body has very limited resources.
When they work in PPE and the temperature outside is +15 is one thing. What will happen when it is +30 outdoors?! I can give an example for those who served in the army: imagine that you wear all-service protective gear round the clock. How long could you work?
I would like to tell physicians that they are the key people in the country today. They can get respect, decent wages for their work and normal working conditions if they organize themselves and announce their demands in public.
- On May 21, the signature collection for "presidential elections" started. How do you assess the activity of potential candidates and their teams?
- Whatever motives and incentives affect the decisions made by candidates, I believe that there is an attempt to make them accomplices to the crimes of the regime amidst the height of the epidemic in Belarus.
It is absolutely clear that the authorities are trying to distract Belarusians from mass deaths. We must understand that human life is precious. What if, as during World War II, death squads with guns entered Belarusian cities and villages? Or with hoes and machetes, as it happened in Rwanda? What if they had started killing civilians? They would kill a hundred people in each city and 10-15 in every village. Then everyone would recognize it as genocide!
But when the same number of people die from coronavirus (many of them suffer from agony and so on...), isn't it death? Is this a trivial thing? Can't it make people realize what they're doing? After all, thousands of new people will be infected through the signature collection. Our healthcare system works at its limits.
The thing is that we will not have any physicians left in the autumn, because there are no reserves. The rotation takes place during a war, there are some reserves. Where can we find medical professionals? Is it possible to train good specialists so quickly? It's informed that there is no one in Belarus to perform neurosurgery or complex heart surgeries. Many heads of departments fight the coronavirus. By fall, our health care sector will simply be ruined. There will be no one to treat us.
After all, candidates who call themselves an alternative to Lukashenka (they are afraid to call themselves opposition members) should think about the consequences.
- What else should residents of Belarus pay attention now?
- Again, take care of yourself and your relatives. We have one life and one health. Whoever tries to fool you with some false ideas and projects, the key thing today is to survive. I already have a few stories about the deaths of people I knew personally. These are my age-mates (people of 50 years old), young people and older people.
Think about it, if you are not infected with coronavirus - you stay alive. If you are infected - you may die in three days or your body will be so damaged that you will suffer for a month and then die anyway.
Today, this thought should come first to one's mind. One should keep it in mind wherever one goes. Take care of yourself.
If quarantine had been introduced in Belarus, we would have had considerably fewer deaths, and we would have lifted quarantine today together with other nations. Today we have the height of the epidemic, a hundred thousand people are infected. The danger of infection and death is as great as ever.
In a month and a half, we will decide what steps to take.