"Russia is engulfed with coronavirus. The situation in Belarus is calm," said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko commenting on Moscow's decision to close the border with Belarus because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"So, who should be isolated from whom. The question is rhetorical," the Belarusian news agency BELTA quoted Lukashenko as saying.
"There are a lot of challenges. You see: the world is crazy about coronavirus or maybe based on all the speculations on coronavirus. But for us, it is not the primary and the most terrible thing. We've been through these viruses. We're going to survive this one. There were more complicated viruses: swine flue, bird flue, and atypical pneumonia. Then, they gasped and gasped where it came from. Then, you see, the media was blamed for being too broad and not covering the problems properly. Probably, this time the media will be blamed again in a month or two. Although there are a lot of complaints against them," Alexander Lukashenko said.
The head of Belarus said that his country's citizens are responding adequately to the situation.
"Belarusians are doing great, except for one case. Do not run to pharmacies and do not buy masks, uniforms or some medicines," the head of state said.
According to him, after the demand for medical masks due to coronavirus has increased sharply in the country, domestic businesses have taken a course to increase their production. Referring to the report of the Prime Minister, Lukashenko said that in the end there is an oversupply of these items.
"They have been produced. But there is nowhere to send them. The industry demands: pay us [for the masks and protective gear]. And health care says, we don't need that much, we have nowhere to use them. However, I told them [ the businesses] that it is necessary to look around. In Germany there are not enough uniforms, masks. We need to sell them if there is a demand for them," Alexander Lukashenko said.
"The biggest thing for us (not a problem, but responsibility) is the economy. Unfortunately, all these knee jerk reactions with coronavirus have had a very dramatic impact on the economy. It has come to the point that our dear Russia, I stress, has closed the border with Belarus," Lukashenko said.
Moscow is counting on Minsk's understanding with regards to the measures to counter coronavirus, said the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, RBC news agency reports.
Peskov stressed that it is up to each country to take measures it deems necessary to counter the spread of the coronavirus and protect its citizens.
"We ask our partners for understanding, especially our closest partner and ally Belarus," said Peskov commenting on the statement of Alexander Lukashenko.