The Belarusian government is not rushing with adopting measures to combat the Coronavirus: as of today, the borders are open, Belarus is not on lockdown, and not even an individual quarantine policy for educational establishments has been introduced.
Recognition of the impact of the Coronavirus on Belarusians began with the Ministry of Healthcare adding COVID-19 to the list of dangerous diseases. From 18.02.2020 patients showing symptoms of infection, must undergo health screening and, if testing is positive must be admitted to hospital for treatment.
On 12.03.2020 the Council of Ministers introduced the first restrictions – cancelling all mass cultural, sports and scientific events with international participation until 06.04.2020. Other mass events are not yet prohibited but require specific permission to be issued after evaluation of the conditions for holding them. The Government has also ruled that public places are to be monitored to ensure proper work in terms of ventilation, availability of antiseptics and compliance with other sanitary rules.
Further Coronavirus-related regulations followed on 25.03.2020 when the Council of Ministers implemented active monitoring of all citizens arriving from abroad (including registration of travellers, self-isolation and a prohibition on travelling further for 14 days). The Ministry of Healthcare is conducting laboratory control over travellers and anyone who was in contact with those who returned.
On 23.03.2020 the Belarusian Government announced an unprecedented package of measures to ensure stable operation of the national economy, starting on 31.03.2020 by adopting:
- a moratorium on price increases of over 0.5% monthly for all Belarusian business entities, regardless of the form of ownership (read more);
- a temporary ban on export of certain goods (as of 02.04.2020 the list includes buckwheat and buckwheat groats, onion sets, bulb onions and garlic);
- a reduction of export duties on oil and petroleum products;
- an extension of exceptions for amending public procurement contracts by the parties (read more).
Currently, the Belarusian Government is working on a second set of anti-crisis measures. This is expected to include regulations on tax issues and state property rents (deferred payments for state property rent, moratorium on changing the base rental value).
Other measures implemented in Belarus to protect individuals and businesses include:
– organizing “green corridors” for heavy trucks that transit through Belarus (allocating places where they can stop for refuelling, rest and meals, as well as sanitary control points);
– changing the public transport schedule and the beginning of classes at universities to reduce passenger flows;
– recommendations by the National Bank to leasing companies to decrease the financial burden onto their contractors.