2020.03.17 11:04

Tractors and fields will 'heal everybody', says Belarusian leader

EurActiv 2020.03.17 11:04

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday encouraged citizens to work in the countryside and drive tractors as a way to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

The former collective farm director, who likes to emphasise his connection to the land and rural residents, told officials at a televised meeting that “there shouldn’t be any panic” over the virus.

Read more: Coronavirus updates: confirmed case count rises to 18

“You just have to work, especially now, in a village”, he said as the former Soviet country that borders Lithuania, Russia, Poland and Ukraine prepares to sow crops.

“It’s nice watching television: people are working in tractors, no one is talking about the virus,” Lukashenko said.

“There, the tractor will heal everyone. The fields heal everyone,” he added.

Belarus was famous in the Soviet Union for its tractor production, with the Minsk tractor plant remaining a regional leader.

Lukashenko is not the only post-Soviet leader to put a personal spin on anti-viral advice. The isolated authoritarian state has not reported any cases of coronavirus. Russia has sent it testing kits.

In Central Asian, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on Friday recommended inhaling smoke from a burning desert-region plant called Peganuma harmala, also known as African Rue, Turkmenistan Today state news agency reported.

The story previously appeared on EurActiv. AFP contributed to the reporting.