Do yoga in the face of Covid? In India, the idea is touted by Prime Minister Modi

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Illustrative photo taken during International Yoga Day in June 2019 during a yoga session attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

CORONAVIRUS – India introduced free vaccination on Monday, June 21 against Covid-19 for all adults in order to boost the immunization campaign while Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated International Yoga Day praising the “protective” virtues of this discipline against the coronavirus.

The rollout of the free vaccination coincided with International Yoga Day marked by a morning speech to the nation by Narendra Modi extolling the benefits of the practice as a source of “inner strength”.

“When I speak with the frontline fighters, they tell me that they have adopted yoga, as a protective shield, in their fight against the coronavirus. Doctors have strengthened themselves through yoga and are also using yoga to treat their patients, ”the Prime Minister said on Monday.

Even though the public parks and gardens, where yoga enthusiasts love to practice their discipline, were reopened in Delhi on Monday, events dedicated to International Yoga Day were few in number for the second year in a row due to the Covid pandemic. 19.

This day dedicated to the secular discipline of India, adopted by the United Nations in 2014 on the proposal of Prime Minister Modi, is generally celebrated around the world during the June solstice, the longest day in the northern hemisphere.

Guru advocates yoga over vaccine

Since the start of the pandemic, the Indian government has repeatedly praised the virtues of yoga and herbal treatments, sales of which have skyrocketed.

The idea is particularly praised by Baba Ramdev, a guru close to the Modi administration. The man is also the founder of an empire of traditional medicine products, the 13th most trusted brand Indians, according to a 2020 ranking. Baba Ramdev said last June that the pandemic has shown that modern medicines were “stupid, failed science” and that hundreds of thousands of people had “died from allopathic medicine” (conventional).

After a call from the Indian Minister of Health, he withdrew his remarks. But he had created a new scandal by declaring that he did not need a vaccine against the coronavirus because he was protected from it by yoga and traditional medicine (ayurveda).

Many Indian doctors have disagreed with these comments. Anger visible in photos shared on social networks, where the practitioners sported black armbands and signs calling for the arrest of “Ramdev the charlatan”, or wearing protective suits with the inscription # StopRamdev on the back.

Only 4% of the vaccinated population

Vaccination has been open to all adults under the age of 45 since May 1. But so far only some 275 million doses of vaccine have been administered, and just 4% of the population have been fully immunized. The government’s goal is to immunize 1.1 billion adults by the end of the year.

“The campaign is now expected to accelerate (…) daily vaccination has resumed over the past week and is expected to strengthen further,” Rajib Dasgupta, public health policy specialist, told AFP, adding that some inequalities and the mistrust of the population, however, were obstacles to the success of the operation.

India’s vaccination campaign has also experienced a significant slowdown in recent months due to a vaccine shortage, even as the country suffered a fierce second epidemic wave between late March and mid-May.

The travel and activity restrictions put in place since have favored a sharp drop in the number of daily infections, but their ongoing gradual easing is already raising fears of a third wave.

See also on The HuffPost: Coronavirus: As the Indian variant threatens, relive 18 months of the pandemic on video

Source: Le Huffington Post by

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