WHO Recommends Physical Distancing In Belarus To Stop COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday recommended physical distancing after its mission visited Minsk amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report published by the organization calls for a number of communtiy-wide measures in order to put an end to the spread of the coronavirus infection in the country.

The suggested measures are the following:

  • postponing large gatherings, including sports, religious and cultural events;
  • introducing options for teleworking, and distance learning for schools, universities and other educational institutions, and suspending nonessential business;
  • reducing nonessential movements, especially for high-risk groups.

At present, Belarus does not fulfill both of these recommendations or do it partially: children continue to go to school (however, it is possible to stay at home), the football championship is still taking place, churches and chapels were open on Palm Sunday and Easter.

The decision to cancel the military parade on 9 May has not yet been made, and preparations for the event continue.

  • placing in quarantine contacts of confirmed patients and people potentially exposed to the virus

This recommendation is being implemented, administrative liability is imposed for violation of the self-isolation regime (a fine of up to 30 basic units), in case of infecting another person with a COVID-19, a criminal liability is imposed.

The team of experts on mission to Belarus also recommended

  • the government to clearly, transparently and regularly communicate the risks, health advice and response measures.

This recommendation is not always implemented: on 18 and 19 April, the Healthcare Ministry did not report the statistics on the increase in the number of infected people, the data was made public only on 20 April.

  • continuation of essential health services and socioeconomic support for those in need, especially the most vulnerable.

This recommendation is being implemented. Social workers and volunteers carry out food and drugs delivery for elderly people, especially the most vulnerable.

  •  cross-sectoral collaboration in responding to the pandemic

This recommendation is also being implemented. Specialists of various authorities regularly meet to work out common solutions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Recall that the WHO expert team travelled to Belarus last week to support the Healthcare Ministry in preparing the country for its COVID-19 response. They visited health-care facilities, public health centres, laboratories and emergency centres around the country.

The experts loaded the Belarusian authorities for implementing such containment measures as testing suspect cases, tracing their contacts and isolating the sick. They also noted the fact that essential health services for chronic diseases, maternal health and mental health continue.

Besides the agency commended  the rapid production of protective equipment for healthcare workers within the country, as supplies in the global market keep reducing.