Belarus suspends routine medical care to focus on COVID-19

Health

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko listens to World Health organization Director for Europe Hans Kluge during their meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Maxim Guchek/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Belarus on Monday ordered a halt to routine medical care at state clinics in order to devote more resources to coronavirus patients.

The Health Ministry said the suspended services include medical examinations and screenings, physiotherapy and dentistry.

Belarus has been hit by a rising wave of coronavirus infections, with around 2,000 new cases reported daily in the country of 9.3 million.

Authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has often brushed off concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, once saying that infections could be treated with “a tractor, a bath and vodka.”

Only about 20% of the population have been fully vaccinated. Overall for the pandemic, Belarus has registered about 574,000 infections — about 6% of the population — and 4,417 deaths.

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