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17 Mar 2020

Belarus MFA monitors situation with Belarusians returning from abroad

Belarus MFA monitors situation with Belarusians returning from abroad
Anatoly Glaz. An archive photo

MINSK, 17 March (BelTA) - All difficulties related to the return of Belarusian nationals from foreign trips to their homeland are monitored 24/7, Anatoly Glaz, Head of the Information and Digital Diplomacy Office, Press Secretary of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said as he commented on additional travel restrictions imposed by the neighboring countries amid the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, BelTA has learned.

“The difficult situation with the return of Belarusian citizens to their homeland remains due to strict restrictive measures on the entry of foreigners imposed by several states. In fact, Belarusians, who are now abroad, cannot make their way home through many countries. All cases are monitored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the foreign agencies of Belarus around the clock. Assistance in finding alternative routes is provided. Additional routes of delivery are organized. Belavia flights are carried out by more spacious air transport if necessary,” Anatoly Glaz said.

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed regret over the decision of Russia to close the border with Belarus. “We are waiting for specific official information from the Russian side on the options and modalities for the implementation of this measure,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Tourist Organizations has sent an official letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inform that Russian companies refuse to allow Belarusian tourists return home through Russian airports. “Tourists cannot leave Morocco, Cuba, Mexico, Thailand and other countries,” the union said and ask the ministry to provide assistance to Belarusian tourists and explain them how and where to go, if not via Moscow.

Belarusians in Ukraine were advised, taking into account all the measures on the restriction of movement within the country, to reach the nearest checkpoints on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border independently to cross it on foot before 00.01 on 17 March.

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provided the latest information on the restrictive measures taken by various states.

On 16 March, the Czech Republic closed its borders for all foreigners. On the same day till 17.00 on 14 April a state of emergency was introduced in Armenia.

The entry of foreign citizens to Georgia has been prohibited for two weeks as from 18 March.

Norway shut its borders on 16 March through 1 April for all the foreigners, except for citizens of Sweden and Finland, as well as those who have residence permits.

Serbia introduced a state of emergency on 15 March. The country also closed its borders to all the foreigners, except for those with residence permits.

Moldova has canceled all regular flights as well as international rail services for passengers from 17 March to 1 April.

On 16 March, Germany shut its borders with Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland.

Kazakhstan has introduced a state of emergency from 16 March to 15 April and has also banned the entry of foreigners.

Uzbekistan has canceled flights and road service with other countries since 16 March.

Egypt has canceled flights with other states from 19 to 31 March.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Belarusians, who are currently in the countries that have introduced restrictive measures, suspended air, rail and/or road service, to address representatives of travel agencies (in case of tourist trips) and Belarus’ foreign institutions in order to find alternative options for getting home.

The ministry also advises Belarusians against any but urgent travel abroad during this period. “Citizens who have an urgent need to travel abroad, are asked to address the appropriate diplomatic representations or consular institutions for detailed information about the current restrictions in the countries of interest,” Anatoly Glaz said.

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