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From South Korea to India, religious sects become coronavirus hotspots

In France, a five-day megachurch conference is reportedly being blamed for sparking the country's largest cluster of coronavirus cases.

Published: 01st April 2020 07:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st April 2020 07:07 PM   |  A+A-

People from Markaz building wear a protective mask as they walk to board a bus that will be taken to the hospital amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Nizamuddin Area in New Delhi

People from Markaz building wear a protective mask as they walk to board a bus that will be taken to the hospital amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Nizamuddin Area in New Delhi. (Photo| ANI)

By IANS

NEW DELHI: South Korea did a very good job of mapping the people affected by the virus using technology and by February 17, the country's tally of COVID-19 patients was just 30 with zero deaths.

South Korea thought the situation was well under control.

The 31st case in South Korea, discovered on February 18 in Daegu city, was a member of a quasi-Christian cult called Shincheonji, one of the religious movements in the country.

Within eight days of patient no 31 contracting the virus, the count of infected people went up to 977 -- with the patient became the tipping point in spreading the virus widely across South Korea.

In France, a five-day megachurch conference is reportedly being blamed for sparking the country's largest cluster of coronavirus cases.

According to local government officials, the annual prayer meeting at the Christian Open Door Church in the border city of Mulhouse in mid-February has been linked to as many as 2,500 coronavirus cases worldwide.

In India, the Nizamuddin Markaz of Tablighi Jamaat has found itself in the eye of a storm for holding a religious programme during prohibitory orders issued amid the coronavirus scare in the country.

Sources say a total of 2100 people have been evacuated from the Markaz till early morning on Wednesday and symptomatic patients have been shifted to hospitals.

As per Delhi government source, till Tuesday, a total of 24 people have tested positive from the Nizamuddin Markaz so far. From the Markaz, while 441 were taken to hospitals, 1,447 have been put in quarantine.

According to Santhosh Babu, founder of OrgLens, a start-up that maps and analyses social networks to increase organisational effectiveness, we need to look into the construct of social networks and roles different people play in social networks to understand this crazy spread.

While it is difficult to map these networks in our community and take preventive action, a general awareness about how infectious diseases spread through social connections and how some people could accelerate this spread is useful.

"If you happened to be a Hub with so many connections and social interactions or a connector or a bridge, you need to be more careful and aware so that your proactive actions could reduce the spread," he added.

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