Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko held a working meeting with Chairperson of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly Natalya Kochanova on 31 March to discuss preparations for the forthcoming presidential election, the current economic situation in the country, and measures to stem the spread of viral infections.
“There are a number of issues we need to discuss. These include political issues as 2020 is the year of the presidential election. Economy is our biggest concern for now. This issue will not go anywhere. We need not only to discuss but also make arrangements for the presidential election. We have no reasons to postpone it, as some here (either enemies or opponents) tell us. Political issues will not go anywhere. We need to discuss them,” the head of state said.
As for the economic situation in the country, Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus does its best to make sure domestic companies work and people get paid. “Here I follow the Trump formula. I liked his recent statement very much. He said that if we do not start working immediately (he said this addressing the Americans, the country where the US dollar is printed, the world’s top economy), more people will die from unemployment and hunger than from coronavirus. He is right. We need to work and use every possible option to save ourselves from this crisis,” the Belarusian leader said.
The President added that the topic of viral infections needs to be kept on the radar, too. “We are at its peak now (this is my own feeling based on the digital analysis of morbidity). I pray to God that we will overcome it by Easter,” he said.
According to the head of state, with the ongoing fight against the spread of the coronavirus, the country should not forget about many other categories of patients who need medical care as well.
The head of state stressed that the matter of virus diseases must not be disregarded. “Moreover, judging from a digital analysis of the sickness rate I feel we are now at the peak. I am already praying for the peak to go down by Easter,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President emphasized that while fighting the spread of the coronavirus one should not forget that there are many other categories of patients that need medical aid as much. “Diseases other than viruses kill hundreds of times more people. We just focus on the coronavirus epidemic. We have patients that suffer from oncological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and asthma. We also have people that suffer from pneumonia without any complications. And the number of deaths caused by these diseases is hundreds of times higher than the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus,” the Belarusian leader noted.
In order to evaluate the situation, Aleksandr Lukashenko intends to soon analyze the death statistics in Belarus in Q1 2020 among other things and compare it with similar periods of past years.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said he had personally asked Natalya Kochanova to get to the bottom of the situation in Vitebsk last weekend. “You are a courageous person. A kind of a soldier that even worked in the problem region on a weekend. What do you think is going on there? I am not saying it is some catastrophe. Vitebsk Oblast has a different climate and the morbidity peak has shifted a bit. Yes, some errors were made. I would like to hear about them. The healthcare minister is working there today. I’ve sent him and specialists there. I want them to pay attention, analyze things and make conclusions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state also made a few comments about the death of an actor previously diagnosed with the coronavirus in Vitebsk. Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked the elderly man had also had other co-existing diseases. “The wife is healthy, she was living together with the husband, the daughter is healthy. Because they have a strong immune system. But he, poor guy, didn’t make it. He was hospitalized with a bad case of pneumonia, his lungs were artificially ventilated, medics worked hard to save him,” he added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed it is necessary to take good care of the elderly in the current situation. “Not because they are old but because their immune systems are weak. And then they have a bunch of illnesses,” he said.