A cave-bound hermit who separated himself from society 20 years ago and has almost never returned learned about Covid on a rare trip to town.

Social distancing king Panta Petrovic, 70, got his jab soon later.

The self-exiled Serbian lives in a cave atop the Stara Planina mountains in southern Serbia, The Mirror reported.

He said he retired to the hills two decades ago to avoid other people.

Panta told AFP: "I was not free in the city.

"There is always someone in your way – you either argue with your wife, neighbours, or the police.

"Here, nobody is hassling me."

He also took the opportunity to advise people to get vaccinated.

Petrovic said: "[COVID] does not pick. It will come here, to my cave, too.

"I want to get all three doses, including the extra one. I urge every citizen to get vaccinated, every single one of them."

He added he "doesn't understand the fuss" anti-vaxxers make about the injections.

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Since retiring as a black market labourer 20 years ago – at which point he gave all his money to the local community and retreated to the hills – Panta has rarely been seen in nearby Pirot.

Panta's hometown has a population of some 40k and has not been spared by the lethal virus, which has killed more than 7k Serbs.

Almost 750k in the country have been infected with the disease.

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The donations Panta gave to the people of Pirot funded three entire bridges.

Though his grudging dislike of others is indisputable, Panta's generosity toward his fellow man – now in the form of vital vaccine messaging – shows he still has a lot to give.

Even from his remote mountaintop.

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