A man who has lived in a cave for the past two decades has just received his first dose of vaccination against COVID-19 and is urging others with more contact with civilization to do the same.
Panta Petrovic has lived an unusual life for nearly the last 20 years. Having donated all of his money to the local community in order to fund the building of three bridges into the town, he forwent money altogether and went to live in an isolated cave up in the Serbian mountains. Here, he wiled away the years, with nothing but hay for a bed, an old bathtub for a toilet, and animals for company, France24 reports.
Free from his old life, which he found to be a hassle, he mainly lived off foraged mushrooms and fish that he'd caught from a local creek. However, since several of his animals have been killed by a wolf, he began to hike down the mountain more and more, to search for leftover food in bins. On one of his trips, he experienced what must have been extremely surreal given his isolation from world events: learning about the COVID-19 pandemic, long after it had begun.
Since learning of the pandemic, he has been quick to adapt to it. The 70-year-old says he "doesn't understand the fuss" that anti-vaxxers and vaccine-hesitant people have made, and got his own jab at the earliest opportunity.
"I want to get all three doses, including the extra one," he told France24. "I urge every citizen to get vaccinated, every single one of them."
Petrovic has since moved closer to town, creating a shack still a significant distance from people, and feeds himself and his pets using food donations and state welfare.
He isn't the only person to learn of the pandemic long after it had begun. Following a 10-month coma, a teenager in the UK woke up to discover that nobody else had been going outside much, either, while the German version of the reality TV show Big Brother had to tell contestants that their lockdown situation was pretty much the same as everyone else's, as the disease spread around the world.