Football

Belarus President Allows Sport To Continue & Recommends Crazy COVID-19 Cure

Belarus President Allows Sport To Continue & Recommends Crazy COVID-19 Cure

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact all over the world, organised sports league have ground to a halt. Be it at grassroots level or the top professionals, there is very little live sport at the moment.

There is one exception. We are of course talking about the Belarusian Premier League. Whereas every other European league took the decision to stop mid-season due to the coronavirus, in Belarus they have started the campaign in the midst of the health crisis.

They are now two games into the season, with spectators allowed in the stadiums. There have been some slight measures. Before the game between FC Minsk and Dinamo-Minsk the temperature of fans was taken before they entered the stadium. Around 3,000 attended the match yesterday, a match which was won 3-2 by the home side.

However, it is largely business as usual in Belarus. Shops and restaurants remain open, and while some people have chosen to take their own precautions, they are under no obligation to do so.

As of March 27th, Belarus had officially diagnosed 94 cases within the country, with no deaths. As such, COVID-19 is not being taken all that seriously by the nation's authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko.

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Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 and has labelled the pandemic as a 'psychosis'. Last week, he said those in the west had completely overreacted to the spread of the virus, and that working on the land was as good a cure as any:

The civilised world is going nuts. It is absolute stupidity to close state borders.

No one is talking about the virus. In the villages, the tractor will heal everyone. The fields heal everyone.

This isn't his only suggestion to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. He said on March 16th that vodka could be the answer:

I don’t drink, but recently I’ve been saying that people should not only wash their hands with vodka but also poison the virus with it.

You should drink the equivalent of 40-50 millilitres of the rectified spirit daily. But not at work.

This message has seemingly permeated into the consciousness of the general public. A large proportion are not treating this as a serious health concern.

Aleksandr Hleb, the former Arsenal and Barcelona player and the biggest talent the country has ever produced, said that he will heed the advice given by the Belarusian leaders.

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Hleb finished his career in his home nation, officially retiring earlier this month. He took to Instagram to say people should not panic and must trust the advice of the Government.

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Я понимаю, что сейчас непростые времена и каждая новость про коронавирус вызывает и волнение, и огромный интерес. Я уже высказался по этому поводу, но вынужден ещё раз это сделать, обратившись в первую очередь к журналистам, которые, к сожалению, ради громких заголовков готовы пойти на искажение смысла всего интервью! Мы, те кого вы просите прокомментировать что-либо , идём к вам навстречу и искренне высказываем своё мнение! К сожалению, всё чаще на выходе мы получаем искажённый смысл, приукрашенную информацию! В эти дни, когда мы должны думать о своём здоровье и здоровье близких, направить усилия на то, чтобы поддержать наших врачей, обезопасить себя, старшее поколение, мне приходится заниматься опровержением информации, которая сейчас распространяется некоторыми белорусскими и российскими интернет -порталами, изменившись всего за пару часов до неузнаваемости ! Речь идёт о моём небольшом интервью для The Sun, в котором я высказал мнение о ситуации с коронавирусом в нашей стране! Да, я сейчас на самоизоляции, и в нашей стране позволено это сделать тем, кто реально видит в этом необходимость, но при этом в интервью я сказал, что раз Администрация Президента не видит реальной необходимости уходить стране на карантин, значит ситуация находится под контролем. Я против какой-либо паники. Про посещение футбольных матчей - тут уже каждый сам решает. Наши футболисты без паники выходят на поле и играют. Среди них множество моих знакомых и, если наступит реальная угроза их здоровью, здоровью зрителей, я уверен, матчи прекратятся! Пожалуйста, господа журналисты, не рождайте сенсацию там, где её нет.

A post shared by Alex Hleb (@alexgleb) on

Our footballers are taking to the pitch without panic and are playing. Among them are many people I know, and if a real threat appears to their health, or the health of fans, I am sure that matches would be stopped.

It seems unlikely that these matches will be stopped anytime soon.

Image credit: Sasa Dzambic Photography / Shutterstock.com

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Gary Connaughton

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