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President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994, told Belarusians they should drink 50ml of vodka a day and regularly head to the sauna if they want to ward off coronavirus.

This comes as news of the Belarusian Premier League being only professional football competition still happening came out, despite there being more than 150 cases of Covid-19 in the eastern European country, according to the Belarusian Health Ministry.

Belarusian teams do not feature regularly in European football’s glamour competition, the Champions League, but their domestic league could be exposed to more coverage than ever with fans desperate for their weekly hit of sport.

The league has said it has no intention of postponing matches or cancelling the season and their stance is in keeping with the advice Belarus’ president Alexander Lukashenko recently gave to his people.

Belarus has a population of more than 9.5 million but the 65-year-old’s advice differs greatly from guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation.

While many countries are locked down, following strict social distancing recommendations, Lukashenko remains adamant the global response to the pandemic is “psychosis”.

Lukashenko played in an amateur ice hockey match last weekend and was asked whether he feared Covid-19. He said sport “is the best anti-virus remedy”.

“It’s better to die standing on your feet than to live on your knees,” he told a Belarusian television station.

Lukashenko was also asked whether anything would stop him playing ice hockey.

“It is possible, but why? I don’t understand. There are no viruses here,” he continued.

“Did you see any of them flying around? I don’t see them too. This is a fridge.”


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