We need to take to the streets of the cities.
Brest blogger Siarhei Piatrukhin is discharged from hospital after two weeks of treatment from coronavirus.
In an interview with Charter97.org, the blogger tells about the situation in the hospital, the epidemiological situation in Brest, and the protest moods of Belarusians.
- Siarhei, how did you contract coronavirus?
- I don't know. A little earlier, my colleague from the People's Reporter channel, Aliaksandr Kabanau, was tested positive for the coronavirus infection. I suspect that I could also contract the infection in the temporary detention centre.
The first thing I noticed in the hospital was the admission unit full of people; many of them had suspected coronavirus. A doctor examined me, I had a CT scan and was taken to the third floor. My COVID-test was positive. I got the result in 24 hours.
Everyone in the ward had a slight form. I saw no pain, no suffering. The maximum temperature reached 37.
I had a feeling that they tried to treat us as soon as possible to improve the statistics. Those who felt sick were diagnosed with pneumonia. If a person dies, it's because of pneumonia.
One doctor told me that everything was fine in our unit, but about 70 people died of "pneumonia" daily in Brest.
In general, doctors tried to either ignore or give vague answers to my questions. However, I managed to collect information about the scale of the epidemic in the Brest region and Belarus.
- What do doctors and patients say about the epidemic?
- Everyone knows what Lukashenka forces doctors conceal true information about COVID-19. Without any exaggeration, it's terrible. Cemeteries are expanding rapidly in almost every city. I heard in the hospital how many people were dying. Nobody believes people are dying of "seasonal pneumonia".
I know a person who died of pneumonia at 46 and was positive for coronavirus. His name is Vasil Matskevich, a journalist from Pinsk.
In Brest, almost all medical institutions have already been re-equipped for COVID patients. In the middle of the week before last, 90 people were hospitalized in the Zheleznodorozhny Hospital on the first day. It accepts coronavirus-patients. The tuberculosis dispensary also accepts such patients. Both doctors and citizens confirm this information.
- What was your treatment? What could you tell us about the conditions at the hospital?
- They gave me antibiotics. Thye might have suppressed infections that could contact the virus. I took blood thinners and medication to restore my flora of digestive tracts. I understand that these antibiotics were Belarusian, probably not of good quality. However. there was no shortage of medication. There was nothing supernatural.
As for doctors' antiviral equipment, it wasn't complete. Doctors did not wear anti-plague suits, though they worked with COVID patients. They had only plastic masks and surgical boots.
I noticed that 5-6 people came to examine us in the first days. Later, the number of them reduced to only one. I wonder where the others disappeared.
By the way, almost all the doctors recognized me, some said that they supported us and watched People's Reporter.
- What conclusions did you make after your hospitalization? What was the most remarkable you'd like to share with us?
- I'd like to tell those who haven't yet understood that COVID is not a usual seasonal flu. It's 100%. Yeah, I was in the ward with "slight" patients. Nevertheless, I know what happened to the same Aliaksandr Kabanau. He sent me a video when he was sick. He had a fever, his joints ached. He described it. I believe him.
Judging by my friend Vasil Matskevich, who died at the age of 46, this disease strikes not only the elderly.
The fact is that cemeteries all over the country are expanding. I will never believe that such a huge number of pneumonia cases require the re-equipment of many hospitals. Coronavirus is a really scary thing, which is not fully studied. The way Lukashenka treats it is just a crime.
I'm sure people won't forgive him the death of their loved ones. He could have just listened to the world community and followed the civilized countries. If he had immediately, in March, introduced quarantine for at least a month, the picture would have been completely different. But he did just the opposite.
Lukashenka's statement, "there will be nothing to eat", sounds ridiculous. You've been working for 26 years, and now you say "there will be nothing to eat". Where's the money for the sold forest, taxes, the pot?
- Did inaction of the authorities during the epidemic of COVID-19 become a catalyst for protest actions of Belarusians?
- Yes. However, this is not the only reason. All over the country, people stand in lines for freedom. People want to peacefully express their protest against Lukashenka. People long for fair elections.
Siarhei Tsikhanouski who united people by travelling through the cities giving people an opportunity to speak out also served a reason. No public media have exercised it, but it is a very simple and effective method.
Belarusians are not afraid anymore. They started talking about power and Lukashenka. It all developed exponentially and resulted in current events.
It seems to me that Siahei's trips coincided with the coronavirus and the fact that Lukashenka, as a very unwise and short-sighted man, denied the problem. People are dying, doctors keep silence, the Ministry of Health understates statistics, COVID-19 is replaced by pneumonia. This makes people go angry. Belarusians will not forgive Lukashenka for the death of their loved ones. The epidemic has triggered the process of power change in Belarus.
Lukashenka has chosen an extremely unfavourable period for "elections". Now one can legally express one's dissatisfaction. It does not play in his favour.
- How could Siarhei Tsikhanouski and other Belarusian bloggers manage to awaken the people?
- Courage is contagious, as well as fear. Siarhei is a normal Belarusian, a brave man; there are many such people. The format of his channel is a great thing. Again, all normal people who are engaged in politics should act this way. One needs to talk to people, be close to them.
Tsikhanouski talked to Belarusians, and they believed him. Moreover, he has the image of a man of the people. He is communicative, clever man. I believe that these lines are exactly his merit. He has already become history.
Supplying demands. Belarus needs bloggers now. There are many cases in the country when, for instance, the state deceives people. Belarusians are trying to figure it out, but do not receive any feedback. However, publicity is the most effective instrument to make society normal and adequate. So, bloggers have taken on the role of cleaners. They have started covering cases like this.
The Belarusian people needed information. Even if some cases are not winning, many people want the public to know about them. It's an effect of a bomb exploding. People see how badly we live. After all, many people think that the state behaves unfairly only towards them. People see that it cannot last anymore. The truth changes consciousness. The activity of bloggers do changes the consciousness of society.
- What can be done today to free Tsikhanouski and the detained activists?
- The authorities have completely discredited themselves. They're using prostitutes for provocations! I'm an opponent of violence. I think it's necessary to peacefully take to the streets of the Belarusian cities. Unity is the only way to change the situation in the country.