COVID-19: 8 world politicians who came up with bizarre solutions and statements

Gayatri Vinayak
·6-min read

As cases across the country continue to rise rapidly, BJP Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal has a rather fascinating solution to cure the virus - eat papad. In a video that has gone viral since, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Heavy Industries speaks about how the ingredients of a papad which goes by the brand name called Bhabhi ji Papas, are helpful in fighting the virus and developing antibodies against it. Understandably, netizens are having a field day and many hilarious comments and memes are doing the rounds.

With cases crossing the 1.6 crore mark, and more than 6.49 lakh deaths till date, the virus has been taking a toll, globally. Countries and governments have been trying their best to stop the spread and control fatality rates. However, in the midst of those fighting a tireless battle against the virus are some leaders who have been making rather strange comments about it. From questioning the seriousness of the pandemic to coming up with absurd solutions to tackle it, their statements have bordered the absurd. We take a look at some of the most bizarre statements made by world leaders:

Donald Trump

From suggesting that healthcare workers can inject disinfectants into the body to kill the virus and that patients’ bodies can be irradiated with UV light, to even calling the fact that the United States has the maximum number of cases a badge of honour since it means that the country is testing more, Trump’s irresponsible statements have mirrored his government’s botched-up handling of the pandemic.

In a very head in the sand response, Trump said that COVID-19 tests have created more cases and that the country should test less, The President went on to add that India and China would have more cases than the US if they tested more.

With his presidential re-election in a crisis (as per reports, Trump’s approval rate stood at 40.6 per cent, down 5.2 points, while his disapproval rate was at 56.1 per cent, up 6.4 per cent), and with the United States struggling to contain the spread, Trump has finally realised the need to take the pandemic seriously, and has even been spotted wearing a mask, albeit occasionally.

Yogi Adityanath

While making a speech during a week-long International Yoga Festival held at Rishikesh early March, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said that deadly diseases such as coronavirus can be cured by practising yoga regularly. He also added that people need not worry about the virus if they overcome mental stress

Jair Bolsonaro

Far from leading his country’s fight against the virus, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been making some highly irresponsible remarks about it. While he initially called the virus a ‘little flu,’ the President also infamously remarked in April, after the country’s death toll crossed 5,000, that though his name meant Messiah, he could not work miracles.

Despite coming down with the virus himself, Bolsonaro has neither been practising social distancing nor been wearing a mask during his meetings with the public. In March, when the virus started spreading across the world, Bolsonaro claimed, without evidence, that Brazilians had natural immunity against it. Today Brazil is the world’s second most affected country, with a total of 24 lakh cases, and a high death count of 87,052.

In fact, such is the antagonism against him that many Brazilians have said that the infection served him right. The Brazilian Press Association has also threatened to file a lawsuit against Bolsanaro for endangering the lives of journalists present at a televised press conference which the President attended and where he announced he was coronavirus positive. At the event, he did not maintain a safe distance from reporters and even took off his mask at one point.

Bolsonaro also fired two health ministers with whom he had a disagreement over the efficacy of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — antimalarial drugs that the President has been advocating.

John Pombe Magufuli

In mid-April, as coronavirus infections rose, President John Pombe Magufuli observed three days of national prayers, urging Tanzanians to pray for God’s protection. In June, while addressing a gathering at a church in the country’s capital Dodoma, the Tanzanian President declared that the country was free of the virus, thanks to the prayers of the people. He also invited tourists to visit the Eastern African nation. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised an alarm against the lack of data available on the spread of the virus in Tanzania.

Magufuli had also warned citizens to be careful of donations such as masks as these could be used to transmit the virus. "I want to urge you Tanzanians not to accept donations of masks, instead tell the donors to go and use them with their wives and children,” the President had claimed at a Teacher’s conference.

Imran Khan

The Pakistani Prime Minister had belittled the virus earlier on by calling it a ‘flu’ and saying that 90 per cent of those infected will only experience mild illness. In the early days of the pandemic, Khan had also drawn flak by asking people to stay at home and observe their symptoms instead of rushing to a hospital if they fall ill as it could put a huge strain on the healthcare. Khan had also responded to calls for a lockdown of cities by saying that Pakistan could not afford a response like the rich European cities as people would die of hunger. Pakistan has 2.74 lakh cases, with 5,842 deaths.

Suman Haripriya

The film director, producer and BJP MLA from Assam was amongst the many politicians who extolled the benefits of cow urine and cow dung as a cure for the virus. Haripriya claimed, “We all know that cow dung is very helpful. Likewise, when cow urine is sprayed, it purifies an area...I believe something similar could be done with “gaumutra” and “gobar” to cure coronavirus.”

Dr Ramdas Athawale

Way before the virus was declared a pandemic and the country went into lockdown, Republican Party of India (A) leader and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr Ramdas Athawale urged the country to chant the virus away. At a prayer meeting with the Chinese Consul General in Mumbai and Buddhist Monks in February, Athawale chanted ‘Go Corona Go.’ The video went viral and the slogan became so popular during the initial days of the pandemic that it was remixed into a trance version by musician Vaibhav Londhe and was released as a ringtone.