Indian holy man who claimed he could perform ‘Covid exorcisms’ by kissing people’s hands dies of coronavirus – having already infected 20 of his followers
- Coronavirus spreads through contagious droplets from the mouth or nose
- Despite this, a holy man from Madya Pradesh, India, claimed he had a ‘kiss cure’
- He would kiss devotees’ hands and told them it would get rid of coronavirus
- He contracted the bug himself and died, becoming one of India’s 8,498 victims
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
The tantric man, from Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh, would kiss the hands of his devotees and told them it would rid their lives of problems.
He also claimed his ‘kiss-cure’ worked on coronavirus patients – despite the virus spreading through contagious droplets from the mouth or nose.
Health department officials said the man contracted coronavirus himself, testing positive for the killer bug on 3 June and dying just a day later.
People use hand sanitisers to disinfect themselves after the burial of their relative who died of coronavirus, at a cemetery in New Delhi, which is seeing a wave of infections
They began contact tracing those who had been in contact with the man and took 40 swab samples to identify any further cases.
Twenty of those swabs returned a positive result, including from seven members of the man’s family.
Swab collector Ruchika Chouhan warned people not to believed such dangerous claims, Times of India reported, amid a wave of new infections.
The health administration identified 29 more people involved in similar coronavirus ‘exorcisms’ and has since put them in quarantine.
India has so far seen 298,283 known cases of coronavirus and 8,498 deaths.
A surge in infections has swept across the country since lockdown measures were eased, with almost 10,000 new cases reported on Thursday.
Hospitals remain swamped with Covid-19 patients in the worst-hit cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai, and predictions that the infection rate will not peak before the end of next month.
India’s tally has reached 286,579 confirmed cases with nearly 10,000 new cases today alone, the fifth highest in the world
The spike comes as the government moved ahead with the reopening of restaurants, shopping centres and places of worship in most of India after a lockdown of more than two months. Subways, hotels and schools remain closed.
The actual infection numbers are thought to be higher because of limited testing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had come under fire for imposing a 10-week nationwide lockdown that crippled the economy and triggered a humanitarian crisis, as unemployed migrant workers fled for their ancestral villages on foot.
Government officials defended the measures as the cost of protecting India’s 1.3 billion people from a devastating loss of life.
In a national televised address, Mr Modi said Indians’ sacrifice had ‘saved the nation’.
But the doctors say lockdown was eased too early and deaths will continue to soar.
‘We are sitting on a ticking time bomb,’ said Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, president of the Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum.
‘Unless and until the government increases its spending on healthcare, things won’t change. A lot of people will die,’ he said.