Belarus leader slams neighbors for closing borders over coronavirus

Moscow, Mar 19 (efe-epa).- The Belorussian president, Alexander Lukashenko, railed against neighboring nations for their decision to close down their shared borders as a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“Many countries have closed their foreign borders, among them five of Belarus’ neighbors. It’s completely and utterly ridiculous, that we already know,” he said.

“This will do nothing to defend Russia. Especially if it is a selective closure, but that’s their business,” he said, according to the Belta news agency.

According to the president, the fact that the World Health Organization has declared Covid-19 a global pandemic was unimportant, given that Belarus has always fought against all diseases, not just coronavirus.

“There is barely a single country that has not been affected by this virus. But one person becoming ill in North Africa is very different from 475 people dying in 24 hours in Italy. It’s a huge difference,” he said.

Despite this, Lukashenko said the most dangerous thing about the coronavirus was the panic it brings.

“When some people start panicking, they do some weird things,” he said.

Lukashenko, who earlier this week suggested people could cure themselves of coronavirus by drinking vodka, going to the sauna and working outdoors, has criticized Russia’s decision to close the shared border, labeling it “useless.”

However, he said Thursday that citizens should remain indoors and parents worried about sending their children to school could keep them at home.

He has, however, refused to bring the school vacations forward.

“They will start on 30 March as planned. Are there any issues at our schools?

“No. It will be even better if we educate children, parents, teachers and janitors about the importance of washing heads, using disinfectants, and wearing masks,” he said.

Belarus has registered 51 confirmed Covid-19 cases to date.

Ukraine, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania have also closed their borders with Belarus.

Russian officials have reported 147 coronavirus cases since the outbreak began and one fatality from the disease.

The EU has ramped up its countermeasures as countries like Spain and Italy grapple to keep major outbreaks under control. EFE-EPA


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