The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Belarusians against all non-essential travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19 and warns about difficulties travelers might face when returning home, Anatoly Glaz, Head of the Information and Digital Diplomacy Office, Press Secretary of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the media as he commented on the situation with the return of Belarusian travelers home after a number of countries had imposed travel restrictions in an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, BelTA has learned.
“According to the State Border Committee of Belarus, some 11,000 citizens of our country have gone abroad in the last three days alone. We emphasize that these trips are made after clear recommendations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to refrain from overseas travel,” said the official representative of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Once again, we strongly advise our people against all but essential trips abroad during this difficult period. Citizens who take such steps should be aware that they are doing it at their own risk,” said Anatoly Glaz.
As of 19 March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Belarusian foreign missions provided assistance in reaching home to more than 2,500 Belarusian citizens stranded abroad.
Belarusian diplomatic missions are currently focused on more than 1,500 Belarusian nationals abroad, who can potentially apply for the necessary assistance in the near future.
According to the ministry, in line with the head of state's instructions, close cooperation is maintained through the embassies of Belarus and Russia in Poland in order to address all issues related to the crossing of the Belarusian-Polish border by Russian citizens on their way home. The relevant interaction has also been built through other interested services.
The ministry and Belarusian diplomatic missions are also working to help Belarusian travelers to return home from Southeast Asian countries. According to initial estimates, more than 100 people are in the focus of our diplomatic missions.
The return of Belarusian citizens from Goa and Sri Lanka remains a complicated issue. The Belarusian embassy in India is in constant contact with Belarusian tourists. Consultations are held to keep the possibility for them to return home on previously booked flights.
Belarus remains in close contact with interested Russian agencies to find optimal ways to provide the transit of Belarusian citizens through the airport in Vnukovo. The parties have already outlined possible joint solutions to the situation. The Belarusian side expects a faster response from Russian partners to its requests.
The official representative of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that a visa-free entry for Belarusian citizens to Vietnam might be temporarily suspended from 21 March.