President of Belarus rejects coronavirus risks, suggests vodka

Belarus President , Alexander Lukashenko

As the world goes into lockdown,  authoritarian president of Belarus , Alexander Lukashenko is urging citizens to drink vodka, go to saunas and return to work.

The country of 9.5 million — between Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Lithuania and Latvia — has reported 152 cases of coronavirus.

COVID-19 has rightly grounded almost all sports fixtures and while football has stopped almost everywhere, it is still being played in Belarus

COVID-19 outbreak has prompted governments worldwide to impose draconian measures on the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people.

The restrictions range from lockdowns and shops closures to strict regulations on social distancing and public gatherings.

Yet in Belarus, borders remain open, and President Alexander Lukashenko remains unmoved by the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview published Sunday in The Times newspaper in London, Lukashenko encouraged citizens to drink vodka (unless working) and visit the sauna at least twice a week to stay healthy.

Lukashenko, also on Tuesday downplayed the need for social distancing and bragged that he continues to play ice hockey and embrace fellow players.

“It’s better to die standing than to live on your knees,” he told local television on Saturday after a hockey game. “There are no viruses here (at the rink)… I don’t see them.”

“We are not cancelling anything. We will host all the events we have planned…Let God protect us from the coronavirus.”

As of Tuesday, more than 801,000 cases of the coronavirus have been recorded worldwide, with 38,743 deaths.