FC Dynamo Brest plays against Isloch Minsk in Belarus despite the coronavirus pandemic.

FC Dynamo Brest plays against Isloch Minsk in Belarus despite the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 1,000 football fans flouted coronavirus preventive measures as they cheered, chanted and hugged each other during a Belarusian top-flight league match on Sunday.

This was in spite of calls from a growing number of supporters to boycott games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Belarus is the only country in Europe still playing a national football league, making it an unlikely draw for fans overseas who are starved of matches in their own countries.

In choosing to stay open, the league took its cue from President Alexander Lukashenko, who has resisted imposing strict lockdown measures.

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Lukashenko dismissed fears about the virus as a “psychosis” and said it was more important to keep the economy going. He had variously prescribed remedies like drinking vodka or driving tractors to fight the pandemic.

Many fans have chosen to stay away, but more than 1,000 attended the clash between FC Dynamo Brest and Isloch Minsk.

Belarus currently has 2,919 reported coronavirus cases with 29 deaths from the new coronavirus.