A wedding in India reportedly sparked a surge of COVID-19 infections and even led to the death of the groom.
The wedding took place in a rural area of Patna, a city in the northeast part of the country, on June 15, according to Indian media reports.
Since then, more than 100 people who attended the wedding have tested positive for COVID-19, with 113 being reported by The Indian Express on July 1. As part of contact tracing efforts, more than 360 people have since been tested in neighboring areas. Reports indicate that the bride did not test positive.
According to the Hindustan Times, the groom was a software engineer who had returned home in May for the ceremony. The groom started showing symptoms days before the wedding during the Tilak ceremony and had a high fever on the day of the wedding itself.
The groom “wanted the ceremony to be deferred, but relented upon the insistence of family members who made him swallow paracetamol tablets and go through the rituals,” the Hindustan Times reports.
On the wedding day, the groom was rushed to All India Institute of Medical Sciences Patna but died on the way, according to local media reports. The Indian Express said that after the groom’s cremation, someone tipped off local authorities, leading to wedding attendees getting tested.
“Our first priority now is to prevent the infection and break the chain,” Paliganj Block Development Officer Chiranjeev Pandey told the Indian Express. “We have sealed parts of the neighbouring Meetha Kuan, Khagari and some parts of the sub-urban marketplace of Paliganj.”
As of July 1, there were more than 580,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in India, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, trailing behind the confirmed counts of the United States, Brazil and Russia.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a live address Tuesday that the country's coronavirus death rate is under control, but that the country is at a “critical juncture.”
“It is true that if you look at the death rate of corona, then in comparison to many countries of this world, India seems to be in (good) condition,” Modi said, crediting his decision to close down the country to all but essential activity from late March to early June.
But since the lockdown was lifted, the caseload has shot up, making India the world's fourth-worst affected country. While some restrictions remain, many industries and businesses have reopened, and Indians have cautiously returned to the streets.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.