Coronavirus has taken to nearly every country in the world, as the pandemic causes hundreds of thousands of cases and thousands of more deaths. Most governments have responded to the crisis with strict measures to prevent further spread, but several governments have drawn harsh criticism for their perceived inaction.
Is it safe to travel to Belarus?
Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko has instituted few measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Belarus.
Currently, social distancing measures are in place over limited areas, with no lockdown in place, a stark difference to other nearby nations such as Poland.
President Lukashenko and much of the country continue to indulge in Belarus’ thriving sporting scene, and thousands of people continue to attend football matches in the nation.
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Mr Lukashenko was questioned about his response on the weekend while playing ice hockey, and when a reporter asked him whether anything would make him stop, he said “there are no viruses here”.
He said: “Did you see any of them flying around?
“I don’t see them too. This is a fridge.”
President Lukashenko also branded nearby countries’ use of lockdown as “frenzy and psychosis”, and vowed he would only introduce one “when it is really needed”.
The lack of controls make Belarus ripe for spreading infection, but the country has a relatively small total, with 152 cases amongst its nearly 9.5 million-strong population.
Currently, the UK Government has set down strict travel restrictions in line with the lockdown.
They advise against “all but essential travel” anywhere in the world, regardless of the measures they have used against COVID-19.
Government guidance states: “As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.
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“Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.
“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available.
“Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”
Flights will not operate in the UK for at least another three weeks, as lockdowns continue over most of Europe, the US and Asia.
The restrictions have left potentially millions of Brits stranded abroad, and the Government today announced it would operate flights to return them home.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Government had partnered with some of the UK’s biggest airlines to bring people home.
The £75million initiative will see people put on chartered or compensated commercial flights from all over the world.
Airlines which have signed up to help include easyJet, British Airways and Jet2 amongst others.
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