Public transport is a place of increased danger during a pandemic. It was completely stopped during the quarantine in some countries. However, the authorities in Belarus do not take such steps.
Therefore, we, public activists, would like to make public transport a safer place. We distributed medical masks and memos on safe behaviour.
The primary target groups were the elderly, students, and people who could not afford self-isolation and not use public transport.
Almost 1,000 roubles (some €370) were donated by concerned Belarusians via the Mola-Mola crowdfunding portal, which were used to buy the masks for distribution, with the rest bought by the MFF members for their own money.
April-May 2020 — at a time when the epidemic was just beginning, and there was almost no protective gear.
200 masks, antiseptics, and memos were distributed on April 2 in Minsk.
“Unfortunately, the authorities in Belarus do not care that people should have all the necessary information. This applies to the statistics, as well — the number of infected, the number of diseases, and, unfortunately, there are first deaths now. The restrictions also apply to information concerning the safety of those who are in close contact with those who fell ill,” said MFF Chairman Yuri Hubarevich, explaining the need for the action.
Masks and memos on how to behave during the COVID-19 pandemic were distributed in Mahiliou on April 19.
“We did a good job because we were at three locations in the city, and about half of the people passing by didn’t wear masks. Surely, our actions did not change the situation in Mahiliou as a whole, but we sent a message that people should wear masks and look for opportunities,” said MFF Mahiliou Region Coordinator Piotr Mihurski, who organized the local action.
MFF Chairman Yuri Hubarevich and other representatives of the United Presidential Candidate Election Headquarters distributed masks in Mahiliou on April 23.
200 masks and memos in Homel
“There are people who have to go outside, including those from risk groups — the elderly and students,” said campaign coordinator, MFF Council member Volha Bykouskaya. “Not everyone knows how to protect themselves from the virus, and not everyone wears a mask. Most attention is paid to doctors now, but we believe that we need to help citizens, as well. Our action aims, among other things, at drawing people’s attention to the need to wear masks in public places, especially indoors.”
MFF members handed out 350 masks and memos on how to behave during the coronavirus pandemic on May 2 in Brest.
This number became possible thanks to our cooperation with the activists of the campaign against the battery plant construction in Brest. In addition to medical disposable masks, we handed out yellow reusable masks labelled “Live”.
“Many of the people asked for several masks, which shows that there is still a lack of protective gear,” said MFF Council member Raman Kisliak.
“In fact, the work we have done is important, because today we need to remind people literally every minute about prevention and self-care. People were quite active, were surprised by our free action, and thanked us. As for us, we got a lot of emotions from doing a good thing — the day was not spent in vain!” said MFF member Liudmila Zakharanka.
MFF activists handed out 150 masks and memos on how to behave during the pandemic in Navapolatsk on May 7. The action lasted only about 15 minutes — this is how quickly the protective gear was taken by people. Many people who received the masks were the elderly, youth, and children.
“At first, I was sceptical about the action — it seems pharmacies and stores have everything by now to save you. Much has been written and said about what to do to avoid becoming a victim of the virus. But in the process, you understand how much relevant this still is. You understand that people lack information, children don’t know how to properly use masks (put them on, take them off, and how long should one wear them), so we had to explain why and what for. Pensioners cannot afford to buy masks and ask for several masks at a time,” says Acting MFF Vitsebsk Region Coordinator Volha Damaskina, who organized the local event.
An action took place in a residential area of Polatsk on May 7. People were grateful for the action and information, and some asked for additional masks for their parents. It was a kind of experiment — MFF members organized a distribution in a residential area of a medium-size city for the first time, and it can be considered successful.
“It is no accident that we went to the Baravukha-3 area — there are a lot of elderly people there,” said MFF Polatsk Coordinator Siarzhuk Khvastsionak, who organized the local event. “All the masks were handed out to the locals in half an hour. People were very much surprised that everything was free. Don’t get sick! Long live Belarus!”
The action of handing out masks and memos on how to behave during the coronavirus lasted for just 10 minutes in Pinsk on May 10. 150 masks were distributed during this time. People thanked the participants for the opportunity and complained about the lack of information about the disease.
“We have specially chosen Pinsk market to hand out the masks and memos — there are many people here, including from the risk groups such as elderly people who work here, mostly without protective gear,” said MFF Pinsk Coordinator Ales Ramanovich.
Concerned citizens joined the distribution of masks and memos about safe behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mazir on May 23. A total of 150 masks were distributed at two locations — at a major bus stop and near a large supermarket, with a small part transferred to a local hospital. MFF member Yauhen Karpavets organized the local event.
“The number of masks and memos we have handed out may be a drop in the ocean, but our main goal is to remind people of the danger and highlight the problem, as well as to help the elderly and students who do not always have the opportunity to purchase protective gear,” said Volha Bykouskaya.