A coronavirus 'super-spreader' in India who refused to self-isolate sparked an outbreak that left 40,000 people in quarantine, officials say

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A worker fumigates the interiors of a Karnataka Interstate Transport bus to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Bangalore, India, on March 19, 2020.

Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty Images

  • A coronavirus "super-spreader" who refused to self-isolate prompted the quarantine of about tens of thousands, officials said.

  • The "super-spreader" did not self-quarantine after traveling to Italy and Germany, and attended a large Sikh festival in India in mid-March.

  • The man died shortly after the festival, and was posthumously diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

  • His diagnosis prompted officials to lock down 20 neighboring villages in northern India in a bid to contain the spread.

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A coronavirus "super-spreader" who refused to self-isolate after traveling prompted the quarantine of about 40,000 people in India, officials said.

Residents from 20 villages in northern India have been quarantined after coming in contact with a 70-year-old man at a Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla, which attracts about 10,000 per day of the six-day festival in mid-March, BBC reported.

Related: What It’s Like to Travel During the Coronavirus Outbreak

The man refused to self-quarantine after traveling back to India from Italy and Germany, according to the BBC report. He died shortly after the festival and was posthumously diagnosed with the coronavirus.

BBC reported that a week after his death, 19 of his relatives tested positive for the coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19.

"So far, we have been able to trace 550 people who came into direct contact with him and the number is growing. We have sealed 15 villages around the area he stayed," an official told BBC. Another five adjoining villages were later put on lockdown as well.

The coronavirus has infected more than half a million people worldwide, and the global death toll has surpassed 27,000. In India alone, the country has nearly 900 cases and 20 deaths, but with one of the lowest testing rates in the world, experts believe the figures could be much higher, BBC reported.

India imposed a nationwide lockdown for 21 days earlier this week, impacting 1.3 billion people.

"There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address, though residents are still able to buy essentials like medicine and food.

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