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India’s Prime Minister encourages yoga practice against Covid-19

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India's Prime Minister encourages yoga practice against Covid-19

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modri said on Friday, 19, that the practice of yoga helps build a “protective shield” of immunity against Covid-19 while there is no vaccine or treatment for the disease. The country, one of the most populous in the world, recorded 342 deaths on Thursday 18, two days after recording a record 2,000 deaths in 24 hours.

“We know that so far no one in the world has been able to develop a vaccine against Covid-19 or coronavirus,” Modi said in a video released on Thursday. “Therefore, currently, only a strong immunity can act as a protective shield or security shield for us and our relatives. Yoga is a faithful friend in building this protective shield,” he added.

Since coming to power in 2014, and his re-election in 2019 under the populist banner of Hindu nationalism, which ignores religious violence within the country, Modi has staunchly defended traditional Indian practices and treatments, which he uses to spread the country’s culture abroad. The export policy of Indian culture resulted in the creation of the International Yoga Day, celebrated on June 21, by the member countries of the United Nations (UN) in 2015.

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On the date, large collective yoga sessions are organized in public places around the planet, but this year Modi advised practitioners to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Yoga is potentially beneficial for mental, physical and psychological challenges. It tests us on how we live in difficult times,” he said.

Traditional medicine and practices, however, are not a cure or prevention for Covid-19, nor are modern remedies and treatments, since scientific research is either still in preliminary stages or needs to be peer-reviewed to prove its effectiveness.

India is one of the most populous countries in the world, and at the same time one of the most unequal. During the re-election campaign, Modi promised to take public toilets to the interior of the country, as toilets are rare in these regions. Poor hygiene in the poorest layers can increase Covid-19 infection, as access to soap and alcohol gel becomes more difficult.

The government acted quickly to prevent the spread of the virus and decreed quarantine throughout the country between March 24 and May 3. The result was visible: during the confinement, a total of 42,505 cases of the disease were recorded. But with the reopening and lifting of the restrictions, the figure skyrocketed and on Friday, according to a real-time johns hopkins university survey, there are 380,532 infected and 12,573 deaths.

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