“Like I said, 97% of our people go through this illness without symptoms and thank God I’ve managed to get into this group of asymptomatic people,” added Lukashenko, citing an unsubstantiated statistic.
Lukashenko added that he had “lived through this virus.”
The strongman leader has notoriously dismissed coronavirus as mass “psychosis” and recommended that citizens enjoy a traditional sauna or drink vodka “to poison the virus.” He has been widely criticized for refusing to impose strict coronavirus restrictions during the pandemic.
Lukashenko, who has ruled since 1994, has not limited his own public appearances during the pandemic and went ahead with an annual military parade in May. He has also continued to gather in-person government meetings and played hockey throughout the pandemic.
“It’s better to die standing than to live on your knees,” he said, rinkside in full hockey gear, in an interview with state television in late March.