The key to fighting the respiratory symptoms of the coronavirus?
At least according to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a YouTube message before International Yoga Day on Sunday, the long-time advocate says the ancient practice of ‘pranayama’ or breathing exercise builds a “protective shield” against the coronavirus.
“We all know that until now nowhere in the world have they been able to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 or coronavirus,” Mr Modi said.
“Which is why right now, only a strong immunity can act as a protective shield or a bodyguard for us and our family members … yoga is our trusted friend in building this protective shield [of immunity].”
The Prime Minister introduced the proposal to observe Yoga Day back in 2014 during an address at the UN General Assembly.
In 2020, it was held virtually for the first time.
India has been devastated by the coronavirus in recent weeks, reporting more than 425,000 cases and more than 13,000 deaths.
It has been a rapid rise for the world’s second-most populous country which had fewer than 200,000 cases at the start of June.
At the start of May, it was below 38,000.
It has led to the conversion of 500 train carriages into pop-up coronavirus wards in an effort to help the healthcare system cope with the soaring infection rate.
Last week, India’s home affairs minister Amit Shah announced the plan, which will create an additional 8000 beds in Delhi.
The Indian capital has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with the city’s death toll exceeding 1200.
More than 1000 new cases are reported in Delhi each day.
Most public hospitals are full, and graveyards are struggling to keep up with the number of dead bodies.
New Delhi’s government has projected that coronavirus cases in the capital could grow to more than half a million by late July.