Coronavirus update: 70-year-old preacher from Punjab may have infected 27 people
Baldev Singh was found to have been infected by coronavirus only after his death on March 18. Since then, health authorities have been racing against time to trace his contact history and quarantining people who came in contact with him.Updated: Mar 28, 2020 08:07 IST
A 70-year-old religious preacher from Punjab’s Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, who returned home from Germany earlier this month, has emerged as a possible super-spreader who likely infected 27 people, government officials said on Friday. The preacher or ‘granthi’, Baldev Singh, died on March 18 and is, until now, Punjab’s only Covid-19 victim.
Singh was found to have been infected by coronavirus only after his death on March 18. Since then, health authorities have been racing against time to trace his contact history and quarantining people who came in contact with him.
Out of five cases that were confirmed on Friday, four were in contact with Singh. At least 20 villages in three districts – with a total population of nearly 25,000 – have been sealed because Singh visited these areas after his return from Germany on March 7.
Banga sub-divisional magistrate Gautam Jain said at least 700 people who had come in close contact with Singh had been quarantined.
The 27 people include his two-year-old grandson and 14 other family members. Nearly 333 swab samples of symptomatic people have been taken from these villages so far, a health official said on condition of anonymity.
Singh, a granthi in a local sect, accompanied his religious guru during a visit to Germany and visited a number of houses after their return, the official quoted above said. Both attended the Holla Mohalla, a religious fair that began on March 10 and ended on March 12, at Anandpur Sahib, where thousands of devotees had gathered, the official added. The Punjab health department has now launched a statewide search to trace those who attended the fair.
On March 16, Singh fell sick and visited two private hospitals in Phagwara and Jalandhar before going to the Jalandhar civil hospital. From there, he was referred to the Banga civil hospital where he died of a heart attack.