President of Belarus Refuses to Cancel Sports, Scoffs at ‘Psychosis’ of Coronavirus Measures

Sergei Chirikov/AFP via Getty Images

The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, will not order sports in his country to shut down over the coronavirus. In fact, on Saturday, he scoffed at the “psychosis,” leading to such extreme measures.

Lukashenko, who is a big hockey fan as well as a player, was asked at a recent amateur hockey game if he thinks the country should shut down sports like so many other countries have already done. But the the 65-year-old leader dismissed the worries, according to USA Today.

“It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees! …I don’t understand. There is no virus here. This (arena) is a refrigerator, it is the best thing for your health. Sport, especially on ice, is better than any antiviral medication, it is the real thing,” Lukashenko told television station All-National TV.

The nation’s long-time leader added that sport “is the best anti-virus remedy.”

Lukashenko has pointedly refused to adhere to any proclamations by the World Health Organization and refused to close any part of his government, business, or private sectors.

The president, who first assumed the office back in 1994 after the country’s break with the old USSR, took a swipe at the leaders of other nations who he sees as having been cowed by the virus. Belarusians, Lukashenko said, “do not suffer the same psychosis as those in Western Europe,” and in his country, “no one is talking about the virus. In the villages, the tractor will heal everyone. The fields heal everyone.”

It is so blatant that former pro soccer player Alexander Hleb called his native Belarus the “only place in Europe you can play (soccer).”

“In Belarus, it’s like no one cares (about coronavirus),” Hleb told Fox Sports Australia. “All the world now watches the Belarusian league. Everybody should go to their television and see us. … It’s very difficult to explain our country. All leagues (in other countries) have closed, but we don’t seem to think it’s a problem. Why? I don’t know. Everybody’s been training as normal, getting ready for the new season. They just don’t care.”

Lukashenko also noted that he “really liked” President Donald Trump’s recent statements about getting the U.S.A. back to work.

“There were many people urging me to close borders, enterprises, and begin a nationwide quarantine. Back then, I made a principled decision: we will implement a quarantine only when it is really needed,” Lukashenko said.

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