MINSK, Belarus — Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday said he had contracted coronavirus but suffered no symptoms and recovered while continuing to work.
Lukashenko, one of few national leaders who did not order mandatory containment measures, previously disputed the seriousness of the virus and said fear of COVID-19 was “psychosis”.
Speaking to interior ministry troops on a visit to their base before the presidential election on August 9, the strongman leader said he recovered from the virus without taking sick leave.
“It is most amazing, today you are meeting a person who managed to recover from the coronavirus while working,” he said in footage shown on Belarusian television.
“Doctors made this conclusion yesterday. (I had) no symptoms,” he added. “Thank God I was in this asymptomatic category.”
Running for a sixth term, Lukashenko has come under severe criticism for mishandling the epidemic in Belarus, a country lodged between Russia and the European Union.
Never appearing with a mask on, the president has been actively campaigning and went to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin twice in late June.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “all is well” with the Russian president.
Lukashenko did not specify when he could have contracted the coronavirus.
Belarus has reported over 67,000 cases of the coronavirus and 543 people have died, according to official figures.