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Priest who died of COVID-19 infected 23, 15 villages sealed

Priest who died of COVID-19 infected 23, 15 villages sealed
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Chandigarh: A coronavirus patient who died in Punjab on March 18 is believed to have spread the virus to at least 23 of the State's 33 cases. The 70-y...

Chandigarh: A coronavirus patient who died in Punjab on March 18 is believed to have spread the virus to at least 23 of the State's 33 cases.

The 70-year-old man, a Gurudwara priest, had returned from a two-week tour of Germany and Italy with two friends from neighbouring villages and had defied self-quarantine rules to socialise heavily earlier this month.

He arrived on March 6 at Delhi and then drove to Punjab.

Officials tracking his movements and those he may have infected learnt that he had attended an event at Anandpur Sahib in March 8-10 and returned to his village in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district.

He met close to 100 people before being tested positive for coronavirus. He and his two travel companions are believed to have visited 15 villages across the State. In his family, 14 have tested positive. His granddaughter and grandson each met scores of people.

Officials are going from village to village tracing every person who may have been exposed to COVID-19 because of the reckless socialising of the three men.

It is believed that the three caused coronavirus positive cases in Nawanshahr, Mohali, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar. The villages have been sealed.

Across India, there are nearly 700 coronavirus cases and 17 have died.

In Maharashtra, tragic tales of stranded migrant workers scrambling to return home despite no money, food or functioning public transport keep coming. Near the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai's Kurla suburb, two men - one from Bihar and the other from Delhi - squat on the pavement near a now-deserted main road leading to the station. Both claim to be victims of robberies and say they are waiting by the roadside for the government to help.

They stole my money, my passport... it was all in a bag with 10-15 biscuits. They've stolen my bag. What do I do now?" Ansari, who used to work with a courier company.

"I only have my Aadhaar and PAN card... everything else I have lost. I sleep on the streets, get food when someone from the public feels like feeding us. The government has done nothing to help," he said.

Across India more than 700 people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus and at least 17 people have been killed. In Maharashtra, one of the worst-hit states in the country, there are 130 active cases and four people have died.

"I wanted to go to Delhi. I also lost my purse. It had around Rs 3,000, my mobile phone and my ID. One day, at 4 am, some people came with knives and took it away. I don't have anything now," another stranded person said, adding that he worked as a painter in a studio and earned a daily wage.

"I get food sometimes when they (volunteers from the Muslim Samaj) come. Sometimes the public will give us biscuits or water. I don't know who is a government worker or not," he said, noting that a complaint to the police resulted in him, and other stranded migrants, being chased away.

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