Belarusian doctors who have left for work abroad will no longer be able to come back, said the acting Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting on COVID-19 pandemic, BelTA news agency reports.
"They are specifically asking our doctors to come to Poland to help the population and the government in the fight against the COVID. I want to warn you that we don't have any extra doctors. We need to treat our people ourselves. But, following our principle, we will not keep anyone. However, you must understand that if you have left - you will not return, you will work there and earn the big money for which you have left," Lukashenko said responding to Poland’s initiative to invite foreign doctors to assist in fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Lukashenko stressed that this is "not a threat, but an order for the government."
According to official data, as of November 5, Belarus has 103,295 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, 998 people have died.
On October 29, Lukashenko instructed the government to strengthen the border, but noted that it should be done without turning it into an iron wall. "We did a lot when I said: we should close the border. To close the border is not to turn it into an iron wall, no one needs it. The border is a zone of peoples’ friendship," Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian news outlets Onliner and Tut.by also reported that now Belarusian citizens cannot return home from Lithuania and Poland. The Grodno Customs Service reported that the border between the countries is closed because of COVID-19. "For many it was a surprise, including for us. No one expected that. Don't worry, it's not martial law," they said.
State Border Committee of Belarus reported earlier that Belarus had temporarily restricted entry to its territory through land border crossings from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The decision was taken "due to the current pandemic situation in the neighboring countries." The committee did not specify how long the restrictions would last.
The measures do not apply to diplomatic missions and consular agencies with diplomatic and service passports, to drivers of international transport vehicles and to members of international rail train and locomotive crews.