The situation in Belarus is concerning and warrants the immediate implementation of a comprehensive blended strategy. The WHO report on the results of the visit of a team of technical experts to Belarus from 8-11 April reads.
“Belarus has entered a new phase in the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic with community-level transmission, particularly in some parts of the country, including the capital Minsk, Vitebsk city and Vitebsk region.
The situation is concerning and warrants the immediate implementation of a comprehensive blended strategy,” the WHO experts note.
First of all, they point out the need to strengthen community-wide measures of physical distancing at individual, community and national levels immediately, namely:
- postponing or cancelling all mass gatherings of people including sporting, cultural and religious events;
- ensuring further isolation and treatment of confirmed cases and quarantining of close contacts;
- introducing options for teleworking, distance learning for schools, universities and other educational institutions, and suspending non-essential business;
- ensuring strict implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures at workplaces where teleworking is not possible, including hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and physical distancing by observing 1–1.5 m distance between staff, limiting the number of staff meetings and ensuring proper ventilation, particularly in health care facilities;
- reducing non-essential movements, especially for high-risk groups.
According to the experts, these measures slow the spread of the virus and allows the health care services to gain the time needed to prepare, equip and reassess the needs of health care workers and facilities responding to increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients.
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Among the current outbreak response measures they name expanding testing capacity and locations, ensuring quality of locally produced test kits, standardizing entry screening, COVID-19 testing and 14-day isolation for all travellers.
UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki called on the country’s authorities to introduce physical distance rules and cancel mass events as soon as possible. She also urged Belarusians to stay at home to stop the spread of infection.
As of 29 April, there are 13,733 people diagnosed with COVID-19, 84 patients died. 2,072 COVID-19 patients recovered and were discharged from hospitals.