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a guru suspected of having contaminated 15,000 villagers in India, a country where containment is difficult to apply

Four days after the start of containment measures in India, the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country, as thousands of workers attempt to leave New Delhi.

Can one and the same person infected with Covid-19 have infected 15,000 people? This is the question that arises in India, where a Sikh guru is sused to have been a “superpropagator” of coronavirus. Back from Italy, the epicenter of the pandemic in Europe, and from Germany, the 70-year-old guru went to preach in fifteen villages in the Indian state of Punjab, mostly Sikh, before falling ill and dying. Therefore, all the inhabitants are placed under a quarantine regime even stricter than the 21-day home confinement decreed Wednesday March 25 across the country by the government. DSpecial food deliveries are made to each of the affected households.

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“The first of these 15 villages was cordoned off on March 18 and we estimate that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 people in the cordoned off villages”, Gaurav Jain, a senior magistrate in the Banga district where the guru resided, told AFP on Saturday. “Medical teams are ready and there is regular monitoring”, he added. Already 90 people who have been in contact with the guru have tested positive for the new coronavirus, said Vinay Bublani, a local police official. Test results from 200 other people are still pending.

Officially, India records 873 confirmed cases of Covid-19 disease and 19 deaths, but many cases go undetected due to lack of testing. Especially since in this country of 1.3 billion inhabitants, confinement is difficult to apply, especially for the poorest. The government has announced a € 20 billion aid plan to provide food for the poor, but many continue to flee to their villages, raising fears of the spread of the disease across India, including in the most remote places.

Saturday, iimpressive mages from Kaushambi bus station, which shows a crowd of thousands of migrant workers who waits, hoping to be able to get on a bus, were widely broadcast and shared on Twitter. In India, according to the last census in 2011, around 30% of the population is made up of internal migrants.

Others have no choice but to walk to their villages or hometowns in Uttar Pradesh, the huge state east of the capital, Moradabad, Mathura, Agra. Dsince Thursday, “clusters of families, bundles on the head, children in the back or on the shoulders, walk in single file on the deserted expressways of New Delhi “, has noted The world. Despite corporal punishment by the police to those who do not respect confinement: slaps, blows with sticks or pumps.

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