A Serbian hermit who lives in a cave has received his Covid-19 vaccine after he discovered the pandemic was raging – and has encouraged anti-vaxxers to get the jab too.
Panta Petrovic, 70, only discovered there was a pandemic when he ventured out of his tiny mountain cave home and visited the nearby town of Pirot last year.
But despite choosing social distancing as a lifestyle choice, Petrovic got jabbed as soon as Covid-19 vaccines became available.
‘[The virus] does not pick. It will come here, to my cave, too’, the 70-year-old said in his cave on the forested Stara Planina mountain in southern Serbia. Petrovic said he ‘doesn’t understand the fuss’ some vaccine sceptics make, and underlined that he believes in a process that aims to eradicate diseases.
‘I want to get all three doses, including the extra one. I urge every citizen to get vaccinated, every single one of them.’ Until the 1990s, Petrovic worked in France as a technician for overseas cargo ships but decided to return home to Serbia after 18 years abroad. He remarried on multiple occasions, a life he called ‘hectic’.
During this time, life became tough when war erupted. He decided to leave his family home in Pirot and move to the suburbs – but instead of living in a home, he constructed a tree house 26ft off the ground.
The 70-year-old gave up his career as a mechanical engineer fifteen years ago in a bid to distance himself from the grind of modern life, initially moving into a tree house he built himself.
Now, the cave Petrovic calls home is accessible only by a steep climb that is not for the fainthearted. It is equipped with an old rusty bathtub which he uses as a toilet, some benches and a stack of hay that serves as a bed.