Lukashenko questions advisability of massive COVID-19 testing

26 Января’22

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko's meeting with scientists on 25 January discussed, among other things, whether a massive COVID-19 testing campaign makes sense, BelTA has learned.

“You know that I keep my finger on the pulse when it comes to coronavirus treatment. I have my own stance on this matter. I do not want to force it upon anyone, and others are also banned from pressuring people. The omicron variant is said to be milder, to rarely lead to death provided a patient receives adequate treatment and takes precautions. I am following the dynamics, and I am monitoring the death toll. I see that the surge in omicron cases has not led to the surge in deaths. Doctors suggest a more targeted approach to testing, that is to test only those who already have symptoms,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Rector of Belarusian State Medical University Sergei Rubnikovich, who was at the podium at that moment, replied that this issue should be studied, including with experts.

The meeting was also attended by Lead Clinician for Infectious Diseases (non-staff) of the Healthcare Ministry, head of the Infectious Diseases Department of Belarusian State Medical University, Doctor of Medicine, Professor Igor Karpov. He noted that diagnostics has two major aspects.

The first one is the emphasis on rapid testing. Rapid tests have proved to be fast and reliable. “This is important. Belarus has its own diagnostics solutions, and they are very good,” said Igor Karpov.

“The second point: if COVID-19 cases continue to spike, as it is happening around the world, we should rely more heavily on differential diagnosis when we have doubts. We believe that a certain variant will be dominant. It is true, it is milder, but it can be very contagious. Therefore, of course, we cannot disregard testing. Yet, clinical manifestations will play a key role in establishing a diagnosis. I think we will polish our tactics in this regard,” the expert said.

In conclusion, Aleksandr Lukashenko asked to analyze the relevant proposal together with the medical community.

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