Meeting with WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko will meet with WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge on 14 October.

“COVID-19 cases are on the rise throughout the world. As far as I understand, the surge was driven by the Delta variant. The countries around Belarus are experiencing a significant increase in cases. COVID-19 cases are somewhat rising in Belarus, too. The virus has already hit its peak. Belarus will spend the next week trying to come to grips with the situation in each hospital, each infected person and will develop additional measures, if necessary, to treat COVID-19 patients,” the head of state said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, he is glad to meet with Hans Kluge not only because he is well known in Belarus, but also because he is a high-level expert who is well versed in healthcare, especially in various kinds of viruses. “First of all, I want to thank you and the World Health Organization, WHO senior officials for electing Belarus to the WHO Executive Board in this difficult politicized 2021. This means a certain independence and courage of the WHO administration,” the Belarusian leader said.

He noted that Belarus never had problems with this organization: “You have always shared your expertise and knowledge, advised in matters of treatment and equipment procurement. You offered all possible support and assistance. We see this during the pandemic as well. It's worth a lot and we really appreciate it.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko also thanked WHO for the support in treating not only COVID-19, but also other diseases. “We should keep in mind that our people get sick not only with coronavirus, but other diseases as well and to a much greater extent than COVID-19. And here we get all kinds of support from your organization. In this regard, I would like you to convey my best regards and words of gratitude to Mr Ghebreyesus [WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus] and other WHO officials for their tremendous support to the whole world, including Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that COVID-19 vaccines should become available to the entire humankind.

"I absolutely support WHO and, above all, its leadership when they say that one should not be selfish today," the Belarusian leader stressed.

"I mean the countries that are trying to shut off from the world, to impose lockdowns. The countries that, having medicines, do not always deliver them to the market on time and in the adequate amount. The countries that, having the necessary production capacity, have not always shared personal protective equipment with other countries. And finally vaccines. Vaccines should be available to the entire humankind. This is a global pandemic," the head of state said.

He stressed that if a country believes it can survive the pandemic on its own by retreating into isolation, nothing will work. "We must beat this disease together. In this regard, I absolutely support you," Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

“Thank you very much for the opportunity to meet with you. This is a very important moment for me. The main objective for me is to advance our relations to a brand-new level,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said.

He remarked that a new cooperation plan for 2022-2023 was signed with the Belarusian Healthcare Ministry on 14 October. “Indeed, I agree with you that this is a moment of opportunity because the healthcare minister is now a member of the executive committee of our organization [WHO] and can influence the global structure of the organization in general. Like you said, health should be above politics. This is the main goal in my work,” the WHO official said.