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Opinions & Interviews

25 Mar 2020

Healthcare minister: Targeted approach helps curb coronavirus in Belarus

Healthcare minister: Targeted approach helps curb coronavirus in Belarus
Vladimir Karanik. An archive photo

MINSK, 25 March (BelTA) – The targeted approach helps stem the COVID-19 spread in Belarus, Healthcare Minister Vladimir Karanik said during a stream for students on 25 March, BelTA has learned.

Quarantine stations were set up at all the points of entry. Screening measures include temperature checks. This system of control really works, Vladimir Karanik noted. This helped identify symptoms of a viral infection in more than 250 people, however the absolute majority of them had influenza, parainfluenza, and adenovirus. If a person tests positive for coronavirus, healthcare workers put their contacts under medical observation. “Such a targeted approach helps curb the spread of the virus,” the minister said.

Each country chooses containment measures depending on the resources it has. The main task is to prevent the excessive burden on the healthcare  system when the number of patients exceeds healthcare resources. Belarus is coping with the virus, as it has preserved a solid public health service. Every case of COVID-19 is subject to epidemiological investigation, which allows  keeping the situation under control thanks to pinpoint measures, breaking the chain of transmission.

Quarantine measures may be an alternative for the country if there is no sanitary service or if it is impossible to conduct an epidemiological investigation because of the large number of patients, the minister said. However, for these measures to alleviate the incidence rate long term, they must last 12-13 weeks. No country is likely to survive such a long period of total isolation, he said. Some countries, watching their healthcare system being overstretched, are introducing quite tough measures to reduce transmission. When the pressure on the healthcare system eases, they weaken these measures in the hope that the next peak will be less severe and the system will cope.

Thanks to the preventive efforts and the bed space reserve, Belarus has been able to keep the situation within the scope of the resource capacity of the healthcare system. Hospitals have been redesigned to accommodate first-level contacts. This allows separating the flow of people with a possible infectious process and patients after surgery, heart attacks, strokes. "Our efforts are not that spectacular, but it does not mean that they are less effective," Vladimir Karanik concluded.

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