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Opinions & Interviews

5 May 2020

Belarus president responds to criticism of decision to organize Victory Day parade

Belarus president responds to criticism of decision to organize Victory Day parade

MINSK, 5 May (BelTA) – Accusations should be met with timely, purposeful, and adequate responses, BelTA learned from Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Aleksandr Lukashenko was asked about the negative response of some mass media and Telegram channels to Belarus’ decision to go ahead with the Victory Day parade on 9 May and about the need to respond to negativity of this kind.

The head of state said: “If you are bombarded with accusations, if speculations are put forward, then certainly it is necessary to respond.” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the response should be timely, purposeful, and adequate.

In that context the president responded to criticism, in particular, criticism expressed by a number of Russian mass media, about the allegedly low number of coronavirus tests being done in Belarus. He cited figures from a survey prepared specifically for the Belarusian head of state. The survey explains how many tests are done per one million residents in various countries. The survey includes information not only about CIS states but also about a number of non-CIS states. Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: “As of this morning the Russian Federation did 29,500 tests per one million residents. Belarus came second with 22,500 tests. And the USA came third with 22,000 tests per one million residents. So, they should criticize Americans.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko also pointed out that testing is not the most important thing. Moreover, tests sometimes fail to produce precise results, particularly at the beginning of a pandemic. “Things may be a little bit better now. You have to trust tests but you have to verify test results. Just what we did often: we used Belarusian test kits, Russian ones, Chinese ones, American ones, and other kinds. Different information,” the Belarusian leader noted.

In his words, the number of tests performed in Belarus allows detecting a sufficient number of coronavirus-infected people. “But tests are not the most important thing today. Today pneumonia is important in this genuine fight for people’s lives, in the course of people’s treatment. People go down with pneumonia. It is the most important matter,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

According to the head of state, there are 18,350 people infected with COVID-19 in Belarus at present. “They represent only 8.7% of all the tested people. As of this morning the number of people we’ve tested over the course of two months and a half stood at 211,369,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. Meanwhile, this ratio in other countries is worse than that in Belarus. As of the morning the number of people in Belarus, who died from a number of diseases complicated by the coronavirus infection, was close to one hundred.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned that today the total number of pneumonia cases registered in Belarus is close to 12,400, including coronavirus ones. It is not such a big figure for the country. Meanwhile, only about 1,000 patients (about 8%) are classified as difficult cases. Belarus has a sufficient number of artificial lungs – some 2,500. There is also a large number of artificial ventilation devices used for general anesthesia. “Only one tenth of the total number of artificial lungs are in use now. Why do those [Telegram] channels have to make noise then?” the head of state wondered.

Aleksandr Lukashenko went on saying that 300 hospital beds have been vacated in Belarus within the last 24 hours. For instance, hospitals in Vitebsk are getting back to normal and are going through disinfection one by one. Moreover, the country has no need to convert some unspecialized premises such as recreation grounds or exhibition halls into hospitals for coronavirus patients.

“This is why you should calmly respond to this [criticism]. Big things look right from afar. Once this period is over, we will sit down and will make the relevant conclusions,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

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