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'It's better to die standing than to live on your knees' - Belarus leader on coronavirus

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SHOWS: MINSK, BELARUS (MARCH 28, 2020) (BELARUS PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE - ACCESS ALL)

1. SUPPORTERS CHEERING / HOCKEY MATCH IN PROGRESS

2. SUPPORTERS CHEERING

3. VARIOUS OF HOCKEY

4. SUPPORTERS CHEERING

5. BELARUS PRESIDENT ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO (BLACK HELMET) ATTEMPTING TO SCORE

6. SUPPORTERS WAVING BELARUS FLAG

7. PLAYERS GREETING EACH OTHER WITH HIGH FIVE, LUKASHENKO AMONG THEM (BLACK HELMET)

8. SUPPORTERS CHEERING

9. LUKASHENKO GIVING INTERVIEW

10. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) BELARUS PRESIDENT, ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO, SAYING:

"It's better to die standing than to live on your knees (LAUGHS) (JOURNALIST ASKING IF THERE IS ANYTHING THAT CAN STOP HIM FROM PLAYING HOCKEY). To stop me? But why? It is possible but why? I don't understand. There are no viruses here. Did you see any of them flying around? I don't see them too. This is a fridge. It is the best (OVER CUTAWAY OF LUKASHENKO GIVING INTERVIEW) for health. This is (BACK TO LUKASHENKO) better than sport and this fridge is the a real anti-viral cure!"

11. SUPPORTERS CHEERING, GAME IN PROGRESS

12. LUKASHENKO GIVING HIGH FIVE TO HIS TEAM

13. SUPPORTERS HUGGING EACH OTHER, CHEERING

14. LUKASHENKO (BLACK HELMET) HUGGING TEAM MATES

15. VARIOUS OF SUPPORTERS CHEERING

16. PLAYERS SHAKING HANDS AFTER GAME

17. LUKASHENKO SHAKING HANDS, CLAPPING PLAYERS ON SHOULDERS AFTER GAME

STORY: "It's better to die standing than to live on your knees," said Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, after taking part in an ice hockey game in the capital Minsk on Saturday (March 28), adding that this is the best protection.

President Alexander Lukashenko, who has held power in the former Soviet nation of 9.5 million people since 1994, has downplayed the need for social distancing and bragged that he continues to play ice hockey and embrace fellow players.

Belarus has so far reported 94 coronavirus cases but has taken few measures to curb the outbreak. The national soccer league has continued, despite virtually no sport being played elsewhere throughout Europe.

The number of infected with the new coronavirus around the world exceeds 800,000 and over 27,000 people have died.

(Production: Maria Vasilyeva)