Hindu group touts cow urine elixir for coronavirus

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Members of All India Hindu Mahasabha serve a traditional drink with cow urine as an ingredient during a gaumutra (cow urine) party, which according to them helps in warding off coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India March 14, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Members of All India Hindu Mahasabha drink cow urine as they attend a gaumutra (cow urine) party, which according to them helps warding off coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India March 14, 2020. (REUTERS)
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A policeman stands guard next to a caricature as members of All India Hindu Mahasabha attend a gaumutra (cow urine) party, which according to them helps in warding off coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India March 14, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Members of All India Hindu Mahasabha attend a gaumutra (cow urine) party, which according to them helps in warding off coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India March 14, 2020. (REUTERS)
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A man serves panchagavya, a traditional Hindu ritual mixture made of cow dung, urine, milk, curd and ghee, to members and supporters attending a 'gaumutra (cow urine) party' to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, organised by Hindu organisation 'Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha' president Chakrapani Maharaj, in New Delhi on March 14, 2020. (AFP)
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An Indian Hindu woman, center, drinks tea made with cow urine during an event organized by a Hindu religious group to promote consumption of cow urine as a cure for the new coronavirus in New Delhi, India, Saturday, March 14, 2020. (AP)
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An Indian Hindu man drinks cow urine during an event organized by a Hindu religious group to promote consumption of cow urine as a cure for the new coronavirus in New Delhi, India, Saturday, March 14, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 16 March 2020

Hindu group touts cow urine elixir for coronavirus

  • Members of Hindu nationalist PM Narendra Modi’s party have also claimed cow urine has medicinal qualities and can even cure cancer

NEW DELHI: Dozens of Hindu activists held a cow urine party in the Indian capital Saturday to protect themselves from the new coronavirus, as countries around the world struggle to control the deadly pandemic.
Members and supporters of All India Hindu Mahasabha staged fire rituals and drank from earthen cups to fight COVID-19 at the gathering in New Delhi dubbed a “gaumutra (cow urine) party.”
Many in the Hindu-majority nation of 1.3 billion consider cows sacred and in recent years have made several assertions about the liquid being an elixir, claims that critics have rejected as quackery.
“Whoever drinks cow urine will be cured and protected,” Hari Shankar Kumar, one of the volunteers at the event, told AFP as he served the “remedy” in brown clay cups.
Governments and scientists have said no medicine or vaccine is available to protect or cure people of the infection that has killed more than 5,400 people and infected nearly 150,000 across six continents.
Two people have died in India while more than 80 have fallen ill, and the government has ordered the closure of some land routes into the country and canceled all visas to stop the spread of the virus in the world’s second most populous country.
Members draped in saffron clothes chanted Hindu hymns at the fire ritual as devotees sang paeans for the sacred animal.
“We have gathered here and prayed for world peace and we will make an offering to the corona (virus) to calm it,” Chakrapani Maharaj, the group’s leader, told reporters before gulping down a cup of urine.
He then offered a glass to a devil-shaped caricature of the virus to “pacify” it.
He urged people to adopt the “tried and tested” practice of drinking cow urine to ward off diseases, and desist from killing animals and eating meat.
“The coronavirus is also a bacteria (virus) and cow urine is effective against all forms of bacteria that harm us,” claimed Om Prakash, a participant from the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh.
Some members of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party have also claimed cow urine has medicinal qualities and can even cure cancer.
One legislator from the party last week suggested use of the urine as well as cow dung can cure the coronavirus.
 


Estonian tourist stranded in Manila airport for 110 days due to COVID-19 goes home

Updated 07 July 2020

Estonian tourist stranded in Manila airport for 110 days due to COVID-19 goes home

  • Was stranded in an experience reminiscent of Tom Hanks’ character in the 2004 film “The Terminal”

LONDON: An Estonian tourist who spent more than 100 days living in an airport in the Philippines due to coronavirus travel restrictions is finally returning home, he said on Tuesday.

Roman Trofimov has been living in the departures lounge of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport since March 20, after immigration authorities stopped issuing visas for entry into the country.

He was then stranded in the airport for a total of 110 days until July 7.

In an experience reminiscent of Tom Hanks’ character in the 2004 film “The Terminal,” Trofimov said he was sleeping on the airport floor, eating in its restaurants and washing in public bathrooms before the Estonian consulate arranged for his transfer to a passenger lounge on April 1.

On Tuesday, Trofimov said he was returning to Estonia on a plane landing in Tallinn on July 8.

Trofimov said he was on a “dream trip” traveling around Southeast Asia when coronavirus lockdowns began across the continent. He said his passport was taken by AirAsia staff before going through immigration in Manila on March 20.

He was booked to take an onward flight to Cebu province on the same day, with a return trip to Bangkok booked for April 2. Both flights were canceled as COVID-19 decimated international travel.

Due to entry visas not being issued by Philippine immigration authorities he was denied entry into the country, but the airline he flew in was unable to return him to Thailand as flights were being grounded.

According to Estonian media, Trofimov was traveling on what is known as a “grey passport” for people of “unclear citizenship” — issued to people with residency rights in Estonia who cannot get another passport.

In a statement, the Estonian foreign ministry said: “It is important to note that he flew to the Philippines during a time when countries had announced emergency situations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had given a travel warning.”

Estonian officials told broadcaster ERR they had tried to help Trofimov organize a flight home, but according to reports he initially declined a repatriation flight due to the cost.

Speaking earlier this week, Trofimov said: “I've been stuck here for more than 100 days. I need help getting out.”

He added: “The airline said I need to wait for an ‘Enhanced Community Quarantine’ to be over before I am allowed to fly. I’ve been waiting here ever since.”

The Philippines has almost 48,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 1,300 people have died from the virus.