Belarus President Refuses COVID-19 Shutdown, Says Citizens Should Drink Vodka And Visit Saunas

By on
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko makes a statement after a session of the Supreme State Council of Russia-Belarus Union State in Minsk, Belarus, February 25, 2016. Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko

As the coronavirus spreads across Europe, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to shut down his country and said that citizens should drink vodka and visit saunas to ward off the virus.

Lukashenko described the global shutdown response to the virus as “psychosis.” On Saturday, he attended an ice hockey match, calling the sport "the best anti-virus remedy." 

"It's better to die standing on your feet than to live on your knees," he told a reporter during the match.

Most nations have shut down sporting events to prevent the spread of the disease.

Belarus has a population of almost 9.5 million people, with Lukashenko having governed the country for over 25 years.

Human rights watchdog Freedom House has described the country as “not free,” characterizing it “as an authoritarian state in which elections are openly orchestrated and civil liberties are tightly restricted.”

Lukashenko isn’t the only world leader that has scoffed at the idea of a coronavirus shutdown. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has called the virus a “little flu” and has feuded with governors who have issued stay-at-home orders.

Join the Discussion