Fight coronavirus by... driving a tractor, Belarusian leader proposes

A guest, wearing white nonwoven coverall, Chanel mask, belt and bag full of hand sanitizer, is seen outside the Chanel show during Paris Fashion Week. Due to a sharp increase in the number of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) declared in Paris and throughout France, several sporting, cultural and festive events have been postponed or canceled.
A guest, wearing white nonwoven coverall, Chanel mask, belt and bag full of hand sanitizer, is seen outside the Chanel show during Paris Fashion Week. Due to a sharp increase in the number of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) declared in Paris and throughout France, several sporting, cultural and festive events have been postponed or canceled.

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

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.

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

Heal everyone

"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 is famed in the former Soviet Union for its tractor production, with the Minsk tractor plant remaining a regional leader.

Neighbouring Russia and the European Union, the country of nine million has so far reported 36 cases of the coronavirus.

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.

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