Non-Cult, No-Lockdown Belarus Has One of the Lowest Death Rates in Europe

The last free country on the continent

Editor’s note: No-lockdown Belarus is doing just fine (far better than most on the continent in fact) and The BMJ (ex-British Medical Journal) is looking for ways to rationalize what it can’t wrap its head around.

Plagued by political turmoil over “Europe’s last dictatorship” and with a president in denial of covid-19, how has Belarus ended up with one of the lowest death rates on the continent? Kata Karáth reports

Belarus’s beleaguered government remains unfazed by covid-19. President Aleksander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has flatly denied the seriousness of the pandemic, refusing to impose a lockdown, close schools, or cancel mass events like the Belarusian football league or the Victory Day parade.

Yet the country’s death rate is among the lowest in Europe—just over 700 in a population of 9.5 million with over 73 000 confirmed cases.

Pandemic mindset

The relatively low death rate is thought to be thanks to Belarus’s large hospital capacity which allowed the country to isolate people early on, says Andrei Vitushka, a healthcare policy expert at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies in Vilnius, Lithuania.

With 11 hospital beds per 1000 people, Belarus outnumbers nations like Germany (8) or the UK (2.5).1 “It’s usually a problem because it takes a lot of money to maintain them, but it turned into our advantage in this situation,” says Vitushka, who is also an intensive care physician in Belarus.

“Belarus, like most of the post-Soviet states, has a focus on “sanitary epidemiological problems” meaning large scale health scares like a pandemic,” says Rasmus Nilsson, a teaching fellow at University College London’s school of Slavonic and east European studies.

This may be one reason Belarus also outperformed most of Europe in terms of mass testing during the first four months of the pandemic. While many countries were reluctant to carry out extensive testing, according to the state owned news agency BelTA, testing in Belarus started as early as 23 January. Most kits were donated or purchased from China and Russia2 using government funds and donations from companies3 and ordinary citizens.4 The country stepped up testing in early April,5 developing its own rapid testing kits6 and switching to the use of domestically produced reagents for polymerase chain reaction testing in May.7 According to government information, there are now 32 laboratories processing samples across the country and testing is widespread in hospitals as well as from GPs.

By the end of June, Belarus had conducted around one million tests,8 covering more than 10% of its population.

Citizens doing it for themselves

With low expectations of the authorities, Belarusians were bracing themselves for the worst.9

With the last of a handful of press briefings on the pandemic held on 24 April, information on safety protocols and the country’s situation has been scarce, inconsistent, and often contradictory. “It’s a personal decision for every citizen. If you want, you wear a mask. If you don’t want to, you don’t wear a mask—and this is a problem,” says Vitushka.

Citizens began practising self-isolation early on. On 26 March a crowdfunding campaign “ByCovid19” was launched in order to buy safety equipment for hospitals across the country. The movement collected around $360 000 (£277 000; €304 000) in three months and, with the help of nearly 1500 volunteers, they purchased and distributed around 450 000 pieces of personal protective equipment, oxygen tanks, and other medical equipment.

Although initially slow to react, the health ministry has worked alongside ByCovid19 and taken measures to reorganise hospitals and encourage social distancing, says Vitushka.

Another factor is that Belarus has very few care homes (203 beds per 100 000 of the population compared with 854 in the UK), with most elderly citizens living separately.10 This has helped shield its most vulnerable.

“In many cases in Belarus, you have already had some isolation of elderly people, particularly in the countryside or in single flats” says Nilsson.

Nilsson says Belarus also benefited from being a relatively isolated country where the government can easily shut down borders and monitor those passing through. “People tend to go in the other direction,” he says, “Very few people will go to Belarus for holidays or work.”

Not out of the woods

With anti-government demonstrations ongoing in Minsk and other big cities following a controversial 9 August election that awarded Lukashenko another term, Belarus will likely see a sudden spike in infections. Nilsson believes this will serve as another pretext to crack down on government critics. [Except if Lukashenko wanted to use the virus excuse it would have happened by now. That’s actually the tactic of the West, eg by Macron in France.]

Lukashenko has allegedly overcome coronavirus infection, Nilsson says, framing it as yet another chapter in Belarus’s historical sufferings that the country managed to overcome. “This is Lukashenko 101, and he is probably not going to change.”

Although the low death numbers are encouraging, some experts fear that many coronavirus related deaths are registered as cases of pneumonia—UN data show a difference of 5605 between April-June 2019 compared with the same period in 2020.11 And the deaths per capita ratio remains one of the highest in Europe. Nilson is cautious, “Until we have the figures for excess deaths, I don’t want to praise Belarus too much.”


  • Commissioned, not peer reviewed.

  • Competing interests: I have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and have no relevant interests to declare.


  1. Fullfact. Do we have fewer hospital beds than most of Europe? 17 April 2014.
  2. Over 21 000 covid-19 tests performed in Belarus. 23 March 2020.
  3. Belarusian company donates 50 000 coronavirus tests to Healthcare Ministry. 9 April 2020.
  4. Belarus receives 100 000 covid-19 rapid tests. 11 May 2020.
  5. Our World in Data. Daily covid-19 tests per thousand people.
  6. В Витебске начали массовое производство тест-систем по выявлению вируса covid-19 [Mass production of test systems to detect covid-19 begins in Vitebsk]. April 2020.
  7. 32 laboratories in Belarus perform up to 9500 covid-19 tests per day. 2 May 2020.
  8. Our World in Data. Total covid-19 tests.
  9. Covid-19 Study.
  10. WHO. Nursing and elderly home beds per 100 000.
  11. UN Data. Deaths by month of death: Belarus 2019, 2020.
  1. ke4ram says

    A: There is no Corona Sars 2 virus

    B: What they believe is the virus is just a cold and since they have been open it has made it run through society.

    C: Unlike the west,,, they’re not lying about everything.

  2. Le Ruse says


    Non-Cult, No-Lockdown Belarus Has One of the Lowest Death Rates in Europe

    That because Alexander Lukashenko, not only frighten Soros NGO Idiots, he does frighten as well the COVIDIOTS !

    1. AlexanderAmproz says

      Bonjour le Rusé ,

      Une interview que vous devez absolument écouter ! ! !

      1. Le Ruse says

        Alex .. Nous avons eu un massacre massif d’hommes blancs européens dans les deux guerres mondiales, aujourd’hui à cause des armes nucléaires, vous ne pouvez pas refaire les guerres passées, mais nous pouvons faire des guerres biologiques et les virus ne portent pas de drapeau..
        Rappelez-vous qu’ils vous l’ont enfoncé au visage.
        Vous savez, que vous ne pouvez pas breveter quoi que ce soit qui ne soit pas fabriqué par l’homme.
        Alors comment se fait-il que tous ces virus, par exemple SIDA, EBOLA, SRAS, virus Corona ont un brevet américain ??
        Tellement arrogant, qu’ils nous le fourrent au visage et qu’ils se moquent de nous!

        1. AlexanderAmproz says

          De plus ca ne date pas d’hier qu’ils sont des malades mentaux. !

          C’est par atavisme qu’ils sont avec Israel un Cancer de la Planète
          pourris de metastases dans les medias …

          Une reincarnation devastatrice d’Attila le Turco-Mongol ! ! !

          The True Story of the 1918 “Spanish Flu”

          By Kevin Barry and Dr. Gary G. Kohls

          Global Research, November 06, 2020

          Region: Europe, USA

          Theme: History, Science and Medicine

          For long version of original Kevin Barry article, click this or this.

          For over a century, various entities that are involved in the propaganda machinery that has been tasked by the powers-that-be to advance American patriotism and corporate profiteering have covered-up the truth about what actually started the epidemic of what became known as the “Spanish Flu”, successfully obscuring what was actually a shameful experiment perpetrated by the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research – the uber-wealthy entity that started the American Medical Association and the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University

          Etc., etc…

          1. Le Ruse says

            Oui .. D’accord avec vous.
            C’est la City of London alias Mordor qui dirige le spectacle, ce sont les tournant d’orgues, les autres ne sont que les singes..
            À propos de la grippe espagnole, j’ai lu cette histoire il y a longtemps, ils l’ont nommée espagnol, pour détourner l’attention d’eux-mêmes, comme d’habitude.

        2. AlexanderAmproz says

          Bonjour, bonsoir le Rusé de Genève,

          Un article qui devrait vous intéresser si vous êtes curieux de comprendre

          ce qui se passe avec le confinement et le but du COVID-19


          La « pandémie » de la Covid : Détruire la vie des gens. Dépression économique artificielle. Coup d’État » mondial » ?

          Par Prof Michel Chossudovsky

, 24 novembre 2020

          Thème: Droits humains et État policier, Économie, Pauvreté et inégalités sociales, Science et médecine, Services de renseignements

          Analyses: COVID-19


          Les zones rouges, le masque facial, la distanciation sociale, la fermeture des écoles, collèges et universités, plus de réunions familiales, plus de fêtes d’anniversaire, la musique, les arts : plus d’événements culturels, les manifestations sportives sont suspendues, plus de mariages, « l’amour et la vie » est carrément interdit.

          Et dans plusieurs pays, les fêtes de Noël sont annulées…

          C’est la destruction de la vie des gens. C’est la déstabilisation de la société civile. Et pour quoi ?

          Les mensonges sont soutenus par une campagne massive de désinformation des médias. 24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7, des « alertes Covid » incessantes et répétitives depuis dix mois. … C’est un processus d’ingénierie sociale.

          Manipulation des estimations. Les tests RT-PCR sont trompeurs.

          Ce qu’ils veulent, c’est augmenter les chiffres afin de justifier le verrouillage.

          Des millions de tests covidés positifs.

          Selon le Dr Pascal Sacré dans un article intitulé : Le

          COVID-19: RT-PCR ou comment enfumer toute l’humanité.

          1. Le Ruse says

            09.25 Hr c’est G’Day en Australie ..
            Alex, si vous lisez ce qui suit, regardez l’état des banques et cela vous donnera des réponses sur la situation mondiale?

            À propos, si la Chine veut que la route de la soie soit ouverte, elle doit autoriser la City of London à mettre un péage sur cette route.

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