The world’s ‘loneliest hermit’ has been put at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 after travel blogger Arina Shumakova decided to take a helicopter out to visit the isolated Agafya Lykova; the elderly woman lives 150 miles from the nearest town in Russian’s Siberian wilderness.
Social media influencer Arina Shumakova has been slammed online after she chartered a helicopter out to the Siberian wilderness to visit the world’s ‘loneliest hermit’, which meant she was potentially putting the elderly woman at risk of becoming infected with coronavirus.
The 76-year-old is the last survivor of a family who in 1936 fled into the forest in order to avoid religious persecution under Stalin. The Russian icon had only just been born at the time.
For over 40 years, the family remained undetected by the Soviet authorities and they stayed in their remote homestead. However, Soviet geologists spotted the area where Agafya lives when passing over in the air.
In 1978, her father and brothers died after there were visitors to their remote area of the forest. A potential factor that has been risen is their lack of immunity to modern-day diseases.
Russian officials have since made an effort to visit her from time to time to make sure that she is okay. It has also been stressed by officials that it is important she does not come into contact with modern-day diseases as she will not have built up her immune system to fight the viruses off. Therefore, she has minimal contact with ‘civilisation’.
Despite being aware of this, travel blogger Arina Shumakova decided to flout the important safety measures and fly out with her team by helicopter to meet the iconic Agafya. Apparently, she was looking forward to giving the elderly woman a “hug”.
Since her “unauthorised” jaunt out to the Siberian outback, it has been reported that she could face legal action.
A spokesman for the nature reserve in Khakassia, which is where Agafya’s tumbledown shack is based which was built by her father, said: “They simply ignored all the legal requirements and visited.
“We asked the blogger to provide negative COVID-19 tests.”
The social media influencer, who has over two million followers, did not undergo a test for coronavirus and reportedly failed to wear PPE throughout the course of her visit.
The spokesman added: “We are now very worried for Agafya.”
Director of Khakassky Nature Reserve Viktor Nepomnyashchy said that Arina had broken “moral, ethical and theological” norms by her actions.
The team alongside her “grossly violated the flight rules, failed to use personal protective equipment, and shot videos and photos without a permit.”
Since images of Arina’s visit to Agafya have been shared online, it has been confirmed that a lawsuit has been filed against her and her pilot.
Despite the fury she has faced, the 41-year-old blogger insists that Agfya had been happy to see her.
She said: “The pilot strictly prohibited us even to touch Agafya.
“But when we were leaving, I told her: ‘Agafya, I want to give you a hug so much, but I was prohibited’.
“And she told me: ‘We can hug, he [the pilot] can’t see!’’
She said: “I want to scream that I have seen Agafya with my own eyes…”