Belarus: the main COVID dissident
“We must finally make people responsible for themselves and those around them. If you blow your nose, cough, do not go outside and do not grass others, do not spread the infection. That is the whole point. And many countries are taking very tough measures in this regard, ”BelTA quotes Lukashenko.
It’s not the first time that what has happened in the world today in the world is called “psychopathy”, which is strong in other countries.
“They planned and built some kind of psychic house,” he said. “But I was glad for our specialists: they, without a vaccine, not knowing how to treat, did not lose a single person.”
At the same time, Lukashenko notes that in 2020 much more people died from pneumonia than at the beginning of the previous year.
In Belarus, as of March 20, coronavirus was detected in 69 people, 15 of whom have already been cured. Nevertheless, Lukashenko is in no hurry to take an example from his neighbors. No quarantine is introduced in Belarusian kindergartens and schools, people go to work, public transport has not stopped movement, and all public institutions are open. Belarus does not close borders, but control at all checkpoints on the border with other countries and at airports has been strengthened.
According to the president, such measures are quite enough – everyone who comes from abroad and who have symptoms of the disease is tested for coronavirus.
“I am absolutely convinced that this is another psychosis that will be beneficial for someone and harm someone,” Lukashenko said earlier. –
Why am I acting like this? Because I am absolutely convinced that we can suffer more from panic than from the virus itself. This is what worries me the most. ”
On March 16, the Belarusian leader expressed indignation that Russia had decided to close its borders with the republic.
“It has come to the point that our native Russia, I emphasize, has closed the border with Belarus,” Lukashenko said, adding that “the world has gone mad from coronavirus.”
The words of the Belarusian leader, however, are not only his insult, but also the economic losses that the republic will suffer. Such measures, in particular, may adversely affect the agriculture of Belarus, for which Russia is the main market.
At the same time, the republic’s authorities cannot afford to resort to extreme quarantine measures.
Severe restrictions will inevitably affect the economy of a country that has already entered the turbulence zone due to stalled negotiations with Russia on oil and the generally unfavorable economic background in the world.
Ukraine: waiting for the collapse
On March 18, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal urged Ukrainians to prepare for the economic crisis.
“The global crisis … a possible economic crisis in Ukraine, which will be a consequence of the global crisis, and we have no doubt about it. This is a challenge for the Minister of Economy, and for the whole government, and for the country, and for business in particular, ”Denis Shmygal said at a cabinet meeting.
In addition to the service market, the medical sector is suffering. According to local media, due to the closure of transport, many doctors who went to work from the suburbs can no longer get to hospitals. The medical staff is not provided with the proper amount of protective equipment, and some hospitals do not receive reception in other areas. To date, 41 cases of the disease have been confirmed in Ukraine.
Baltic States: betrayal of the European Union
Despite EU membership, the Baltic countries also faced the same problem. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have closed their borders since March 17. A statement was made in a few days so that their citizens had time to return home. However, the very next day, Poland closed its borders, as a result of which thousands of people were deprived of the opportunity to come home.
On Sunday, a 40-kilometer traffic jam formed on the border between Poland and Germany. They promised to let people go, but Warsaw did not keep her word.
In Latvia, coronavirus was detected in 111 people, in Lithuania the total number of infected people rose to 63 people, in Estonia – 283.
Vilnius and Tallinn closed all entertainment centers, sports clubs and institutions. In addition to the market for services and entertainment, the tourism industry will suffer greatly.
The authorities of the Baltic countries are already developing measures to minimize damage to the economy.
As the country’s Prime Minister Krishjanis Karins said on Twitter, the initiative provides for the payment of benefits for forced simple, state support of needy sectors of the economy, state guarantees for companies. In addition, the government proposes an additional allocation of 10 million euros for the purchase of necessary medical protective equipment. According to the Minister of Finance of Latvia, Janis Reirs, the country will need about 2 billion euros to overcome the consequences of the pandemic.
Estonia went the same way. Tallinn has announced an economic package of 2 billion euros to overcome the negative impact of the pandemic. In particular, a guarantee is provided for loans issued by banks, softening payment schedules. Support will be given to those employers whose turnover has decreased by at least 30%, those who cannot provide work for at least 30% of their employees, as well as those who are forced to cut wages by at least 30%.
On March 17, the Lithuanian parliament began to consider a 5 billion euro plan of economic measures approved by the government.
“We faced this threat for the first time, so the answer must be historical,
– stated the Minister of Finance of Lithuania Vilius Shapoka. “Judging by the situation, we believe that at the moment these tools are enough, since reserves have been accumulated in several funds that can be used.”
Transcaucasia: in search of resources
From March 21, Georgia stops air communication with all countries. The number of people infected with coronavirus in the country has reached 43 people.
Closed schools, kindergartens and universities, all public places and institutions. Almost all government agencies switched to remote operation. Tbilisi imposed a ban on the admission of all foreigners, the borders were closed, but the decision does not concern trade. The tourism industry, one of the main ones in Georgia, will inevitably be damaged.
Banks allowed customers not to pay loans for three months, and hotels and the tourist industry were temporarily exempt from taxes.
On the eve of the Georgian authorities decided to postpone the payment of property tax and income tax, return excess VAT and spend money to help businesses related to tourism, hotel and restaurant sectors. The cost of economic measures is estimated at 314 million dollars.
Like Ukraine, Georgia is negotiating additional assistance with the IMF. At the same time, unlike the Ukrainian situation, Tbilisi has a more fertile ground for negotiations with the Fund. IMF Resident Representative in Georgia Selim Chucker has already stated that Tbilisi will receive assistance in connection with the crisis arising from the coronavirus.
Another situation is in Azerbaijan. He, unlike Georgia and Armenia, has large oil reserves. 44 people are infected in Azerbaijan today, the country has closed its borders and, accordingly, will receive a blow to the tourism industry.
Baku, however, has a “safety cushion” in the form of foreign exchange reserves. He does not need external assistance, and the state has already decided to allocate $ 588.2 million to implement measures to stabilize the economy.
Support will be aimed at ensuring macroeconomic stability, addressing employment issues, minimizing the negative impact on business due to coronavirus and a sharp decline in oil prices.
The worst situation among the countries of the South Caucasus is Armenia, both in the economy and in the degree of spread of the coronavirus. Here, 136 cases of the disease are recorded today. The state of emergency was introduced in the country, the borders are closed.
“We have prepared a package that can be put into practice in a few days. We will allocate 25 billion drams (about $ 51 million – approx. Ed.) For a program according to which companies will be able to borrow money from Armenian banks to pay salaries to their employees and solve other issues, and the government will finance 50% of this loan without interest, as well as will subsidize the interest rate of the banking part, ”Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said.
Moldova: emergency mode introduced
An emergency mode has been introduced in Moldova, almost all public places are closed. To date, 66 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the republic. Since Monday, the city has only grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations. The country’s medical facilities, including dental clinics, only accept patients with urgent problems.
“Therefore, the meeting discussed the possibility of making certain concessions, starting next week, in order to stimulate the work of economic agents, including in trade, and to ensure the influx of tax deductions into the state budget,” he said.
Moldova is one of the leaders among European countries in the number of citizens leaving to work abroad. And after Russia, the most popular country where Moldovans go is Italy, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus in Europe. According to various statistical calculations, about a million people from Moldova work outside the country, of which about 25% settled in Italy, mainly in the northern regions. However, while the situation in Moldova with the coronavirus is not critical.
Central Asia: between crisis and pandemic
According to the latest data, 49 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Kazakhstan. From March 16 to April 15, the country has a state of emergency due to a pandemic, the borders are closed. Mass events were banned, crowded places were closed, officials were banned from traveling abroad. Authorities also decided to cancel the May 9 Victory Day parade.
The spread of the virus coincided with a fall in oil prices and the devaluation of tenge. Export of raw materials provides about 40% of all revenues to the budget of Kazakhstan.
The government has already announced a number of support measures. In particular, part of the tax burden will be lifted from small and medium-sized businesses, and affordable credit will be expanded.
In Kyrgyzstan, the total number of cases is six. On March 20, Prime Minister Muhammedkaly Abylgaziev explained that due to coronavirus, the budget will not receive $ 450 million. The problem is that China is one of the main trading partners of the republic, whose share in the total goods turnover of Kyrgyzstan is 26.4%, and in the total volume of imports – 35.4%. The state border of the country with China is closed.
In Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, not a single case of coronavirus has been recorded. However, the pandemic still affected the economies of these countries.
Tajikistan has limited air traffic with Russia, and rail has completely stopped. Turkmenistan, in addition to closing its borders, yesterday also introduced a blockade regime in Ashgabat and limited the movement of citizens between regions of the country.
Most of all, a pandemic will hit migrant workers from Asia; many of them may lose their earnings. The fact is that in the spring they migrate to labor migrants to Russia, and those who worked in the spring tend to get home. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, having closed their borders, are working to organize the return of their citizens to their homeland. However, firstly, the process may be delayed, which will negatively affect those who have already lost their jobs in Russia, but remain there. It is also unknown whether it will be possible to return all citizens home.
“Of course, with all the long-standing political independence of the CIS countries, there is a dependence of the economy of these countries [от российской экономики], even Ukraine, which is in a very sharp political confrontation [с Россией]. And these problems in the Russian economy are connected, first of all, not with the coronavirus, but with the drop in the cost of oil, and, accordingly, the depreciation of the ruble. This creates a negative background and a difficult situation in other CIS countries. I think that, nevertheless, this situation, at least its most acute phase, is limited and gradually the situation will level out, ”the expert said.