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Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions in Belarus – updated 13 May, 2020: All arrivals from countries that are affected by coronavirus must self-isolate for a period of 14 days, regardless of whether they show symptoms. Borders remain open, and there are only minimal recommendations in place, to stay away from crowded areas, use hand sanitiser and wear masks, especially if the person falls under an at-risk category. A ban on public gatherings expired on 6 April, 2020.
Belarus is generally a safe place for travelers. Violent crimes against travelers are rare, however you should always exercise common sense. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, don't be a hero – hand over whatever it is the perpetrator is asking for, or try to walk away and find a safe place.
The biggest threat to travelers in Belarus is petty theft, particularly on public transport, sleeper trains, and in popular tourist destinations around Minsk.
Another target for thieves in Belarus is European, Japanese and American-made SUV and luxury cars. Car jacking is rare, but car theft and theft of car parts is common here. Again, inconspicuousness is the key: park in secure overnight parking areas, and don't leave valuables on the back seat of the car – hide your belongings in the boot or beneath seats if you absolutely have to keep them in the car.
While there are strong penalties for possession or use of drugs in Belarus (convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines), there have been reports of drugged travelers by drink spiking in nightclubs. It can be very difficult to tell if your drink has been spiked, so here are a few ways to avoid it:
Prostitution is fairy common in Belarus, and it's not unheard of for sex-workers to attempt to enter hotels in search of customers. This really only happens at smaller, local hotels.
Belarus and Russia are the only countries in Europe which still have capital punishment. Execution is the punishment for murder, terrorism, treason, conspiracy and sabotage. If you are arrested for a crime in Belarus, you may not have automatic access to your consular official and you may be summarily expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Belarus is an authoritarian state. Political unrest or dissention is not tolerated at all, and as a foreigner you should stay well away from any political demonstrations, marches or large public gatherings. In late 2010 a pro-democracy rally in central Minsk was violently dispersed by authorities. Several presidential candidates remain in KGB jails, facing prison terms of up to 15 years for organizing riots and mass disorders.
If you participate in any kind of rally or demonstration, particularly if you are caught holding a banner expect to be detained within minutes and how fast you are released or get access to consular officials will very much depend on your social network in Belarus.
There is also a general threat from terrorism in Belarus. Bombings have occurred in 2005, 2008 and 2011. In the most recent incident 14 people were killed and more than two hundred were injured in an explosion on the Minsk Metro. There is a general threat from terrorism in Belarus. Be alert, aware and make sure you register with consular officials.
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