At least 40,000 people who may have caught the coronavirus from a ‘super-spreader’ guru are under strict quarantine in 20 villages of Indian Punjab after linked to just one man.
According to BBC, the 70-year-old guru, Baldev Singh, had returned from a trip to Europe’s virus epicentre Italy and Germany when he went preaching in more than a dozen villages in Punjab state. The 70-year-old died of coronavirus — a fact found out only after his death, according to the BBC.
The guru and his two associates — who have also tested positive — ignored self-isolation orders on their return from Europe, and were on their preaching tour until Singh fell ill and died. He had visited a large gathering to celebrate the Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla shortly before he died. The six-day festival attracts around 10,000 people every day.
A week after his death, 19 of his relatives have tested positive.
India has 640 confirmed cases of the virus, of which 30 are in Punjab. However, experts worry that the real number of positive cases could be far higher given that the South Asian country has one of the lowest testing rates in the world. There are fears that an outbreak in the country of 1.3 billion people could result in a catastrophe.