Inbound tourism fell by 98% in Belarus
The export of tourist services from April to October 2020 practically stopped, the drop was 98%. The reason was not only a pandemic and the closure of borders, but also long-standing problems in the functioning of the Belarusian tourist business, such as the disruption of links between infrastructure, providers of travel services and distributors. The Republican Union of Tourist Organizations proposes to take priority measures as soon as possible.
Among them are subsidies to support companies involved in the organization of domestic and inbound tourism, providing companies with concessional lending in the amount of at least 30% of revenue in 2019, as well as introducing a temporary moratorium on contributions to the Social Security Fund until March 31, 2021.
It is also proposed to introduce a moratorium (up to one year) on the fulfilment of obligations under contracts; suspend blocking of settlement accounts of the respective travel companies in case of problems with mutual settlements (for up to one year); set tax holidays for at least 6 months; reduce rent by 60%.
Eliminate any discrimination against national operators when organizing the export of services from service providers or government agencies, simplify the procedure for issuing visas to foreign tourists, implement an electronic document management system between tour operators and diplomatic missions of Belarus abroad.
RUTO calls on to refrain from legislative changes that significantly change the conditions for doing business in the tourism sector in the next three years until the industry recovers.
Foreign Office expels two British diplomats
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus has declared the military attaché and the Deputy Ambassador of Great Britain persona non grata.
According to law enforcement agencies, they collected information about the internal political situation in Belarus and the course of the protests.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz explained that British diplomats conducted activities incompatible with the status of a diplomatic agent, with the status of a diplomat, as well as with the goals of staying in the Republic of Belarus.
Since May of this year, the diplomats have constantly met with representatives of opposition and public human rights organizations, as well as non-governmental structures.
The government spoke about the copayments to doctors for COVID-19
More than 350 million rubles ($135 million) have been allocated for additional payments to doctors by the presidential decree of April 16, 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko said.
“These allowances were paid to more than 51 thousand health workers, more than 350 million rubles were allocated for these purposes,” Petrishenko noted. That is, on average, 6.9 thousand ($2,677) fell on each health worker.
The average cost of treating one patient with COVID-19 in an infectious diseases hospital (11-12 days) is about 2.2 thousand rubles ($853).
Petrishenko also informed that population immunity to COVID-19 after the first wave is estimated in Belarus at 15-20%. In several patients who have been ill, immunity is weak (there are no antibodies or their level is low), which causes reinfection.
An incident occurred at BelNPP
Last Sunday, November 8, an incident occurred at the Belarusian nuclear plant. Several voltage transformers exploded. Because of this, the turbine was stopped, but the reactor is safe.
This incident is not considered an emergency and there is no risk of radiation leakage. Similar events in the recent past were at the Leningrad NPP and Watts Bar station (USA).
At BelNPP, depending on the nature of the equipment damage, bringing the plant back to normal may take quite a long time. In fact, now it cannot give out energy.
The day before the incident, Alexander Lukashenko visited the station, where he was informed about the work on putting the station into operation and its integration into the country’s energy system.
The Ministry of Energy reports that the BelNPP has identified the need to replace individual electrical measuring equipment.