Prominent theater actor Viktar Daškievič dies after contracting coronavirus

Prominent theater actor Viktar Daškievič, a holder of the title of Honored Artist of the Republic of Belarus, has died in Viciebsk days after testing positive for coronavirus.

The 75-year-old Mr. Daškievič was a member of the troupe of the Jakub Kolas National Drama Theater in Viciebsk.

This is the first known death of a coronavirus patient in Belarus. The health ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Naša Niva online publication reported on Monday with reference to Mr. Daškievič’s wife that he was diagnosed with pneumonia on March 19. The elderly actor, who suffered from a chronic lung condition, spent days in a Viciebsk hospital before being put on a ventilator in another hospital's critical care unit.

The actor’s wife said that he had not traveled abroad recently. She added that seven actors of the troupe had been hospitalized and five of them had been diagnosed with pneumonia.

The Jakub Kolas National Drama Theater announced on Monday that it had cancelled all shows until April 18. The theater’s director, Aliaksandr Starych, said that none of the theater’s 146 employees had been placed in isolation and the troupe continued rehearsals.

The death came amid unconfirmed reports of hospitals in Viciebsk being overcrowded with patients displaying coronavirus symptoms.