Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who is running for re-election next week, said on Tuesday that he had overcome an asymptomatic case of the coronavirus.
Lukashenko has repeatedly shrugged off concerns about the virus and opted against imposing mass quarantine measures, saying that the harm to the economy would be worse than the virus itself.
"Today you are meeting with a man who has managed to overcome the coronavirus on his feet. The doctors concluded this yesterday. Asymptomatic," Lukashenko said in comments carried by state news agency BelTA.
Lukashenko has led Belarus, a former Soviet republic between Russia and EU member state Poland, for a quarter of a century, tolerating little dissent.
He is seeking a sixth consecutive term in the August 9 election. Two of his strongest challengers have been jailed and prevented from registering as candidates.
"As I have said, 97 per cent of our population are carrying this infection asymptomatically. Thank God that I have managed to get into this cohort of the asymptomatic," Lukashenko said at a meeting with senior law enforcement officials.
Belarus has had more than 67,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, and almost 61,000 of those have already recovered, according to the official statistics published by BelTA on Tuesday.
"A total of 543 Covid-19 patients suffering from a number of chronic diseases have died in Belarus," the state news agency reported.