Yle (Finland): Belarus is playing with coronavirus Russian roulette

“All behave as if no epidemic there. It’s sad and scary,” says Yle on the phone Natalia Petrakova, coach handball, residing in Minsk.

However, the virus was not spared and it is an authoritarian state in Eastern Europe.

Belarus, which is home to more than nine million people, has become one of the “most contaminated” in Europe, and, it seems, so far, no cases of infection is not less.

According to the official statistics, the first of June in Belarus already has registered more than 43 thousand cases of infection. However, mortality from covid-19 remains low: only around 240.

Statistics of Belarus coronavirus seems suspicious. For example, in Sweden from the coronavirus died at about 18 times more people, although the country was confirmed approximately the same number of cases. Both countries refused to introduce strict limits.

“The situation is probably worse than we are told. Perhaps officials don’t want to raise a panic,” — says Natalia Petrakova.

The state underestimates the seriousness of the coronavirus

The authorities of Belarus and state-controlled media has long denied the danger of coronavirus.

Ruling the country since 1994, Alexander Lukashenko called the epidemic of the coronavirus psychosis, panic which is more dangerous than the coronavirus. It is also advised to treat coronavirus sauna and vodka.

In may, Lukashenko held in honor of Victory Day parade strutting, as in former times, and the country has not introduced large-scale restrictions for the suppression of the epidemic.

As soon as the situation began to deteriorate, the authorities began to treat the virus more serious. Now state media are encouraged to avoid unnecessary contact and keep your distance.

Director of the research center EAST Center Andrey Eliseev believes that the press still downplays the true nature of the epidemic, and the citizens of the country receive largely distorted and contradictory information.

“The media report that Western leaders have finally decided to listen to wise decisions, Lukashenko began to remove the absurd restrictions to avoid economic difficulties”, — by telephone shares his position with Yle in Belarus Elisha.

Many residents of Belarus from the state require more serious measures to contain the epidemic. This is evidenced by the popular online survey independent news page Tut.by two-thirds of respondents support a lockdown.

Citizens take responsibility for themselves

In relation to the epidemic of coronavirus in Belarus was split. Some citizens support the “liberal” state.

One of them — the Director of shop Alexander Onoprienko. He thinks that the coronavirus can be compared with normal seasonal influenza, but in the spring the attitude of the Belarusians to the virus has changed dramatically.

“First they said that the virus is completely harmless, but people wore masks. Now, when there is information about the dangers of the epidemic, everyone is tired of the mask” — surprised Onoprienko in a telephone conversation with Yle.

Alexander Onoprienko criticizes the strict restrictions imposed by other countries. And yet he says that he washes his hands more often than before, and not use public transport.

Other possible, trying to isolate themselves at home.

13-year-old daughter Natalia Petrakova stopped going to school one of the first in its class, in mid-March. Last week, before school holidays, 25 people came to the school only a few students.

First, as the cause of the lack of girls at school Natalia pointed to family circumstances, and later it was possible formally to write about the epidemic of the coronavirus.

“Everyone is trying to act within the law so humane as possible,” says Petrakova.

Petrakova, the goalkeeping coach, says that in the sports school, where she works in the hospital with covid-19 was already six coaches. She is glad that handball has been suspended.

Many other sports events taking place in spite of the epidemic of the coronavirus, for example the championship of Belarus on football.

Petrakov does not blame the authorities in a bad contain the epidemic and urges citizens to take responsibility for the situation.

“Who would there it went, the President or the king, in the end we’re all just people. We all need to be able to think for themselves”, — says Natalia Petrakova.

The epidemic has an impact on the upcoming presidential elections

The official position of Belarus on the epidemic of the coronavirus and control is expressed in the authoritarian leadership style of Alexander Lukashenko.

The views of Lukashenko is not even affected by who recommendations and the opinion of the Minister of health of Belarus Vladimir Carnica.

“Many people, including in the nomenclature, it was a shock and responded Chernobyl’s echo,” writes Artyom shraibman, columnist of the Moscow Carnegie Center.

According to Shraibman, before the presidential election to be held in August, the position of Lukashenko seems to be the weakest in 26 years of his reign.

On may 29, Lukashenka visited the Minsk tractor plant. During the visit, he still stuck to his line. The President said that the new coronavirus pandemic “a disease takes half, the rest is politics,” a criticism soft coronavirus policy of Belarus, he explained a simple envy.

Researcher Andrei Yeliseyev considers that Lukashenko is hard to give up their statements made at the beginning of the pandemic coronavirus — because it will ruin his manly image.

It seems that Lukashenko hoped that due to the large number of places in hospitals in Belarus will cope with the virus, while in summer it does not subside by itself.

“It’s Russian roulette,” — said the head of the EAST-center Andrey Eliseev.