Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, vodka and saunas will cure coronavirus

The president of Belarus is insisting that vodka and saunas will cure the coronavirus — while claiming nations that have gone into lockdown are in the throes of a “psychosis,” according to reports.

President Alexander Lukashenko has insisted the Eastern European nation of nearly 9.5 million remain open for business — and even took part in a packed ice hockey match on Saturday.

“It’s better to die standing than to live on your knees,” he said, quoting the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, and calling sports “the best anti-virus remedy.”

“There are no viruses here,” he said of the ice rink after his game, insisting, “I don’t see them.”

He attacked the “psychosis” that is crippling other nations’ economies, saying the “world has gone mad” — and offering what he says are simple solutions.

“People should not only wash their hands with vodka but also poison the virus with it,” he advised his people, according to the Times of London.

“You should drink the equivalent of 40-50 milliliters of rectified spirit daily. But not at work,” he reportedly said.

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, advised slugging back the hard liquor after trips to the banya — a Russian-style sauna — “two or three times a week,” the UK Times said.

“When you come out of the sauna, not only wash your hands, but also your insides with 100 milliliters [of vodka],” Lukashenko said, according to the report.

He also advised that hard work would cure the deadly pandemic.

“You just have to work, especially now, in a village. Tractors will cure everyone! The field heals everyone!” he said.

Belarus has confirmed about 100 cases of the virus with no deaths — but many believe the government is covering up the true number, according to the UK paper.

“Lots of people think he is acting frivolously and irresponsibly,” Marina Zolotova, the editor-in-chief of the news website, told the paper.

With Post wires

The government of Turkmenistan banned the use of the word coronavirus.

The Turkmen authorities are avoiding use of the word “coronavirus” as much as possible in order to deter the spread of information about the pandemic. By doing so, Turkmenistan’s government is putting its citizens in danger, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says.
By banning use of the word “coronavirus” on the streets and never mentioning it in official documents and in the media, in a radical move to suppress all information about the pandemic, Turkmenistan’s government is putting its citizens in danger, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says.

It’s as if it had never existed. The state media are saying nothing about the effects of coronavirus in Turkmenistan and the word has even been removed from health information brochures distributed in schools, hospitals and workplaces, according to Turkmenistan Chronicles, one of the few sources of independent news, whose site is blocked within the country.

In this information black hole neighbouring Iran, people wearing face masks or talking about the coronavirus on the street, at bus stops or in lines outside shops are liable to be arrested by plainclothes police, according to journalists based in the capital, Ashgabat, who report for Radio Azatlyk, the Turkmen language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

“The Turkmen authorities have lived up to their reputation by adopting this extreme method for limiting all information about the coronavirus,” said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.

“This denial of information not only endangers the Turkmen citizens most at risk but also reinforces the authoritarianism imposed by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. We urge the international community to react and to take him to task for his systematic human rights violations.”

Turkmen citizens only have access to very one-sided information about the coronavirus epidemic while, according to the authorities, no case has so far been detected in Turkmenistan. The president, also known as “Father Protector,” gave orders on 13 March for public spaces to be fumigated with a traditional plant called “harmala” as a protective measure.

In Moscow, the Turkmen embassy hotline for Turkmen citizens trapped in Russia by the Covid-19 crisis refuses to answer journalists’ questions about the assistance offered to those who want to return home. Radio Azatlyk reports that, since the embassy’s closure on 17 March, many Turkmen citizens have been waiting in vain at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport for a flight because they have nowhere else to stay.

Ranked last in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index, Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most closed countries. The government controls all domestic media and continues to step up its persecution of those who clandestinely report for exile media outlets. The few Internet users can only access a highly-censored version of the Internet, usually in cafés where they must first present identification.