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Why Coronavirus suspects ‘escaping’ hospitals is a worry. Here is how just 1 person caused massive spread in South Korea

While citizens are expected to assist their respective governments in containing the proliferation of the contagion, there are a few cases in which the victims who tested positive for coronavirus have defied the measures and fled away from the hospitals, potentially sabotaging their country's efforts to keep the virus at bay.

States and communities across the world are enforcing strict measures to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus. With the vaccine/antidote of the virus yet to be prepared, the most effective means suggested by the infectious disease experts and epidemiologists to reduce its alarming expansion is “social distancing” and placing those who have contracted the virus in quarantine.

While citizens are expected to assist their respective governments in containing the proliferation of the contagion, there are a few cases in which the victims who tested positive for coronavirus have defied the measures and fled away from the hospitals, potentially sabotaging their country’s efforts to keep the virus at bay.

In one of such cases where victims exhibited flagrantly irresponsible behaviour, 11 persons suspected of coronavirus infection fled from a hospital in Maharashtra’s Navi Mumbai. They were kept in isolation and their test results were awaited. Their escape is a matter of great concern, considering that even if 1 of the 11 patients turns positive, he/she stands to infect hundreds of others who might inadvertently catch the disease after coming in contact with the victim. Earlier, another 4 people suspected of being affected by coronavirus had fled from an isolation ward in Nagpur.

The immensity of the danger posed by coronavirus victims fleeing quarantine is encapsulated by the meteoric rise of outbreak in South Korea, enabled by a coronavirus patient who refused to employ social distancing and now believed to have engendered 80 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the country.

The rise of the zoonotic contagion, which is believed to have emerged from one of the wet markets in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, was limited and controlled in South Korea until the 31st patient who chose to disregard the measures suggested by the government authorities and acted as vector in the spread. The patient, now accused of being a super spreader, said to have transmitted the virus to at least 1160 people, setting off a chain event and fundamentally altering the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea.

According to a Reuter report, the 31st patient, a woman checked into the Oriental medicine hospital after having met a minor traffic accident in Daegu. While she was at the hospital, she overlooked repeated insistence from the doctor to get tested for coronavirus despite her worsening fever. In between, she attended services at Daegu branch of Shincheonji Church of Jesus and attended a buffet lunch with one of her friends. After her symptoms aggravated further, she visited another hospital for coronavirus test and was declared as country’s 31st case. However, before long, the outbreak snowballed with several others in hundreds tested positive at Shincheonji church and nearby areas.

It is notable to mention that the 31st patient of the coronavirus was a patron of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a Christian sect with secret religious practises. It is also accused by the South Korean authorities for the uncontrollable surge of coronavirus patients in the country. Speculations are rife that the death cult had actively participated in disseminating the intractable contagion.

The 36-year-old death cult-Shincheonji Church is led by an octogenarian named Lee Man-hee, who fancies himself the new “messiah” and the leader of a South Korean sect whose teachings are based on his unique interpretation of the biblical texts. In addition, members of the Shincheonji cult are forbidden from fearing diseases, wearing face masks, skipping meetings, and are ordained to pray together in close-knit circles.

Furthermore, it is claimed that Shincheonji Church is based on eschatology- a theological concept concerning death, judgment and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind. Many believe that the cult is not simply biding its time for the Judgment Day, but it is actively seeking ways and means to pursue it. It is, therefore, believed by many that the virus was deliberately spread by the cult.

The investigators in South Korea are planning to criminally charge 12 executives of the controversial Shincheonji Church of Jesus for the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country, the disease that results from the coronavirus, France 24 reports. The authorities suspect that the cult’s extreme and exclusionary teachings might be one of the motivations for its adherents to defy law and partake in spreading the virus. The sect’s head, Lee, in what appears as an admission of guilt, had tendered his apology for the spread of the disease and asked his patrons to get themselves tested for virus if possible.

The wilful negligence observed even by just one of the coronavirus patients in a populous country like India can spell doom for the whole nation, pushing it in the bottomless abyss of deteriorating public health crisis.

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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