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News |  14 Apr 2020 13:32 |  By RnMTeam

TikTok user who mocked face masks is said to have tested positive for COVID-19

MUMBAI: An Indian 25-year-old TikTok user from Madhya Pradesh who has more than 75,000 followers posted a video of himself refusing to wear a face mask, suggesting that faith in God was more important than "a piece of cloth," and on Friday was tested positive for the coronavirus. The man, who calls himself Sameer King on social media, came to a government hospital in Madhya Pradesh, a large central state in India, showing symptoms that included a fever and coughing.

India Today, reports that officials say the 25-year-old contracted the first reported case of COVID-19 in the Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh, and that he has not travelled recently.


In one of his TikToks, which was filmed and uploaded before his diagnosis, King is shown holding a piece of cloth. According to India Today's translation, someone off-camera asks him to wear the "mask," and King dismisses them, saying "Why trust a piece of cloth? Keep faith in God." He later throws the cloth into the air.

That TikTok, along with ones filmed from inside the hospital, were originally embedded in an OpIndia post, but the TikTok embed code now shows the videos have been set to private on King's account. Comments are also now turned off on the rest of his posts, some of which have hundreds of thousands of views. King appears to have gained traction on the short-form video platform for posting skits and lip sync videos.

Later, the videos were re-uploaded on Twitter, and one shows King with a face mask pulled up over his forehead. India Today reports it was recorded from inside the isolation facility at the hospital he was admitted to, and that in it, he asks viewers to pray for him. The dean of the hospital told India Today that King is stable, and that his phone was confiscated after the hospital received complaints about his video.

According to local reports, Madhya Pradesh has reported the second-highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 in India so far, with the state's health industry reporting that 36 of its coronavirus patients have died as of Sunday. In total, Indian health ministry’s report that 273 people have died due to the coronavirus.