As countries around the world grapple with coronavirus pandemic and practicing social distancing to slow down the spread of the virus, Belarus’ president instead is encouraging citizens to drink vodka and visit saunas. In his interview with London Times newspaper on Sunday, Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is instead promoting his own unique recipe to stay healthy: drink vodka, work hard and visit the sauna at least twice a week to stay healthy.
So far, there are only 152 reported coronavirus cases and zero deaths in Belarus, a country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.
Lukashenko mocked what he calls the “panic” gripping countries that have imposed lockdowns to minimize deaths. “The world has gone mad from the coronavirus,” he said. “This psychosis has crippled national economies almost everywhere in the world.” In Belarus, a former Soviet state of 9.5 million people, shops and markets are bustling, theatres are staging premieres and the borders remain open.
A global health crisis has prompted governments worldwide to impose draconian measures on the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people. The restrictions range from so-called lockdowns and school closures to strict regulations on social distancing and public gatherings. Yet, in the Eastern European country of Belarus, borders remain open and President Alexander Lukashenko remains unmoved by the coronavirus pandemic.
Lukashenko has refused to implement a lockdown in the country of roughly 9.5 million people, reportedly suggesting that others have done so as an act of “frenzy and psychosis,” according to Sky News. As of Tuesday, at least 805,707 coronavirus cases are reported worldwide, with 39,554 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.