Two games in the top two tiers of Belarusian football have been postponed due to coronavirus concerns.
The Premier League match between FC Minsk and Neman Grodno – scheduled for May 15 – has been called off, as has the second-division meeting between Arsenal Dzerzhinsk and leaders Lokomotiv Gomel.
The country’s football federation confirmed it was because of suspected cases of COVID-19 among the Minsk and Lokomotiv players. No new dates have yet been arranged.
Belarus is one of the few European nations in which major sporting competitions have continued despite the spread of the virus.
Premier League games have been played, often in front of spectators, while the rest of the continent has largely been forced to suspend all football.
All grounds are required to have several sanitiser stations installed, while people must have their temperature checked before entering and anyone in the stands is required to sit at a distance from others, following a “checkerboard” pattern.
President Alexander Lukashenko has been outspoken in his scepticism over the severity of the virus and the need for strict measures to curb its spread, instead suggesting those who succumb to infection are only killed by complications arising from other underlying health problems.
On April 13, he claimed: “Nobody is going to die of coronavirus in our country. I’m announcing this publicly. It’s my firmly held conviction.”
As of May 11, Belarus had just over 23,900 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 135 people dying with the disease.