17 September 2021, Friday, 22:17
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Coronavirus Epidemic Hits Belarus

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Coronavirus Epidemic Hits Belarus
PHOTO: REUTERS

Queues of people with covid symptoms are again lining up outside clinics.

In Marjina Horka near Minsk, people with a fever wait in line for three hours to see a doctor. The same happens in Minsk hospital No. 4, hospital No. 36 in Minsk Shabany and outpatient clinic No. 1 in Zhlobin, reports Belsat.

There are not enough doctors, people with covid symptoms are no longer being tested, nor are those who have communicated with the sick being isolated, the subscribers of the Telegram channels state.

"We can't guarantee that it's the delta strain, it could be another strain that we have now, but the fact that we're having an increased incidence rate is certainly there," states respiratory therapist Rastsislau Savitski.

A new, more contagious modification of the coronavirus, active travel during the vacation season and the beginning of the school year - these are the possible reasons for the outbreak, the doctors say.

"We can see a tendency towards youthification of the composition of the diseased. If previously it was mainly older people with weakened immune system, now we can see the spread of the disease among the younger people, even though they are not very seriously ill," notes the expert on early disease detection, Aleh Darashkevich.

According to the Ministry of Health, 3,900 people have died of covid in Belarus. Journalists who have checked the data of the "Passport" system claim that the real mortality rate is 14 times higher than the official one. According to their data, 32 thousand Belarusians became victims of the epidemic from March 2020 to March 2021. This spring, vaccination began in the country. Every eighth inhabitant has already been fully vaccinated, states the Ministry of Health.

Russia is experiencing the same peak of the epidemic as Belarus. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, the number of sick people is much less than in December and March.

"Sputnik", produced in Belarus, carries little credibility. No doubt, it gives some immunity, but it is not the percentage that is declared in the Russian sources," admits Rastsislau Savitski.

The situation is worsened by the lack of doctors. In children's polyclinics in Zhodzina, Mazyr and Brest, there are long queues for tickets. It is impossible to comply with covid restrictions in such conditions, patients state.

"Now, because of the political crisis, a lot of doctors have emigrated. Doctors are honest, highly educated people. They saw all this lawlessness that reigned in Belarus," explains Aleh Darashkevich, an expert on early disease diagnosis.

The coronavirus is spreading in crowded and humid cells of pre-trial detention facilities. Last summer political prisoner Volha Zalatar, mother of five children, and student activist Kasia Budzko got ill with covid there. Journalist Andrei Skurko is also suspected of having covid.

"Andrei was diagnosed by his cellmate from Akrestsina, Radio Liberty journalist Aleh Hruzdilovich. When he saw how the disease was progressing, how Andrei was suffering, could not walk or sit, but only lay down, what a cough he had, Aleh said: "You have coronavirus. I had it when I was in Baranavichy serving the term," said the wife of political prisoner, Palina Skurko.

The Ministry of Health pays less attention to the prevention of covid than six months ago, but the problem has not gone, stated the doctors. People must protect themselves - wash hands, keep a distance and wear masks, and definitely get vaccinated, even if the vaccine is not a 100% guarantee.