Lukashenko urges doctors not to ease up fighting COVID-19


Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he is cautiously optimistic about the situation with COVID-19 in Belarus as he met with the staff of Lida Central District Hospital on 26 October, BelTA has learned.

“I don't see any major faults with your work for now, but we should not relax. Thank you very much,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president noted that he gets regular updates about the operation of the healthcare system, and if any problems come to light, they are immediately addressed. The head of state also demanded that heads of healthcare facilities do not hush up problems they encounter. “If you run into a problem, tell me honestly about it. We will solve it together,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

During the conversation with the head of state, the healthcare workers also asked what the president meant by saying that he is cautiously optimistic about the situation. Aleksandr Lukashenko explained that COVID-19 is slowing down in the country. The president cited statistics: the average weekly growth rate in new cases shrank 1.5 times over the last week, the number of hospital admissions of patients with pneumonia remains at the same level, while the number of those discharged from hospital rose by 6.4% over the past week.

There are 44 fewer people on mechanical ventilators, which is confirmed by a 1.3% drop in oxygen consumption compared with last week, while the oxygen consumption in Vitebsk Oblast and Gomel Oblast decreased by 10% and 2%, respectively.

What is particularly important is that tertiary referral hospitals that had been re-purposed to treat COVID-19 patients are beginning to return to their usual mode of operation. For example, in Brest Oblast, the gynecological department of the regional maternity hospital, some units of the regional cancer center, the heart surgery department and the department of thoracic and abdominal surgery and transplantation of the regional hospital are gradually returning to routine operation.

On 21 October, admission of COVID-19 patients with pneumonia in the surgery bloc of Vitebsk Oblast Cancer Hospital was suspended. Departments of Mogilev Oblast Cancer Hospital will return to the normal mode of operation after disinfection at the end of October.

“Of course, we are not there yet. Nevertheless, the current developments instill cautious optimism. And this is going on not for the first week,” the head of state noted. “COVID-19 cases have not just hit a plateau, they slipped by 2-4% within a week,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that Belarus will be able to overcome this pandemic: “We treat our people. We are doing everything to suppress this infection as fast as possible. We are 100% sure that it will become a thing of the past. There is no doubting it. I am sure that we will get rid of this disease. And if the Lord keeps loving us like today, things will get better by the new year. We will not completely eradicate this infection, but the situation will improve.”

The president also noted that every time he visits hospitals he thanks doctors. “True doctors, real ones. Not those in black, dirty coats that write on Telegram channels. But real doctors in white coats. Thank you very much,” he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that he analyzes the situation, draws conclusions and puts information through the sieve of his experience.

The head of state recalled that Belarus retained the foundations of Soviet medicine and improved it: “Had we not taken care of our public health system, today we would have had what some of our neighbors have and face the same problems the West is facing.”

Belarus could have ended up in the same situation as Ukraine that is seeking to adopt the Western model of public healthcare. “In their view, universal health coverage should be destroyed and the country should switch to private medicine. They thought that private medicine would solve all the problems. Now only a handful of doctors still supports this option,” the president noted.

“Which healthcare system is better – ours (modern healthcare system based on the Soviet model) or Western. A little more time will pass, and you will see,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.

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