Villagers in India are taking to the trees to self-isolate because there isn’t enough space in their homes.

Seven people who recently returned to the Purulia district in West Bengal from the southern city Chennai were advised to self-isolate themselves for a fortnight.

The group have built platforms and moved beds into the branches of a tree, to keep their families and neighbours safe.

They will remain in the tree for the entire quarantine period.

“The doctor directed us to stay at home and practice social distancing,” villager Bijoy Sing Laya said yesterday.

“We don’t have personal rooms in our houses. It was decided in the village that we should be isolated, we are living on and under the tree out of our own free will and we are doing well here. There are no problems.”

They have built platforms where they are staying during the quarantine period
(Image: Reuters)

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the country’s 1.3 billion people this week to stay indoors for three weeks in the world’s biggest lockdown, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

India has reported 979 cases and 25 deaths.

Mr Modi has appealed for contributions to a new charitable fund to help the government battle coronavirus and the economic consequences of the pandemic.

The country’s hospitals are suffering from a lack of supplies, ranging from personal protective gear to protect doctors to intensive-care beds and ventilators to assist those with severe respiratory problems.

Many companies and celebrities have publicly pledged their support for the fund.

Coronavirus: Villagers in India forced to self-isolate in trees with nowhere else to go - World News 1

Workers in India crowding outside a bus station ahead of the 21-day nationwide lockdown
(Image: REUTERS)

Bollywood star Akshay Kumar is contributing $3.3m, while PayTM, the digital payments group backed by Alibaba, said it would try to contribute $66m.

Elsewhere in India, authorities in the northern state of Punjab have quarantined around 40,000 residents from 20 villages following a coronavirus outbreak linked to just one man – dubbed a super-spreader.

The 70-year-old died of coronavirus, which was only discovered after his death.

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Coronavirus outbreak

The preacher had ignored advice to self-quarantine after returning from a trip to Italy and Germany, officials told BBC Punjabi’s Arvind Chhabra.

Globally, there have been 665,026 reported cases in the UK – with 30,895 deaths.

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