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Lukashenko demands to tackle spread of fake news about coronavirus deaths

24.03.2020

It is essential to tackle the spread of fake news relate to coronavirus deaths, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting in the Palace of Independence on 21 March, BelTA informs.

“You need to track down these websites, channels. A woman died in Vitebsk, this death had nothing to do with coronavirus, several tests were made after her death. I am reported about all similar deaths. Some sources started spreading fake stories that the woman died from coronavirus. Why? To spread panic,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said addressed KGB Chairman Valery Vakulchik.

The president emphasized the need to deal with “scumbags spreading those fake stories”. “Why are they trying to bully people?” he wondered. “Thank goodness, we are keeping things under control in this difficult time during a peak of acute respiratory diseases. Yet, they are trying to turn up the heat, set things on fire. People have already become immune to this silly talk in the internet. But why don't we deal with people who are doing it on purpose?”

According to the head of state, about 1,000 coronavirus tests were done in Minsk in the past 24 hours. All of them came back negative. “It is good, but we should not relax,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. He instructed Chairperson of the Council of the Republic Natalya Kochanova to take the work with the elderly, who are in the higher risk group, under special control. “It is not about coronavirus: there are many other viruses,” the president said.

Natalya Kochanova noted that she had already talked to heads of district administrations and instructed them to work with elderly people, to organize food delivery to their homes.

“I reiterate: it is not about coronavirus. It is about our integrity and discipline. Does it really matter why a person died? It is our lack of discipline. People should not die from viruses. We must take care of our people. We must encourage children to help elderly people. The main thing right now it to protect the elderly,” the head of state emphasized.

As it was reported, earlier a number of mass media outlets informed that a woman had died from coronavirus in Vitebsk. The Healthcare Ministry made a rebuttal.

According to the Healthcare Ministry, this was the fourth death story from journalists in the past two weeks. Previously they “buried” a famous businessman, a girl in Grodno, and a man in Lepel.

As the husband of the deceased talked to the press and enumerated all her diseases, the Healthcare Ministry had to confirm that the patient had been taken to hospital in Vitebsk on 15 March. “From the epidemiological anamnesis it became clear that the woman had not travelled abroad. She was initially admitted to hospital with pneumonia, and had fever for a week. She also suffered from diabetes, arterial hypertension, chronic bronchitis and obesity. On admission to hospital, she was diagnosed with pneumonia, and doctors, following the order of the Healthcare Ministry (all patients with pneumonia are tested for coronavirus), took a swab. A decision was also made to test her closest relatives,” reads the press release of the press service of the Healthcare Ministry.

“A negative coronavirus test came back the following day. The patient's closest relatives will get results next week. The Healthcare Ministry has extended condolences to the husband and family of the woman. This is a big loss,” the representatives of the ministry stressed.