A Santa Claus super-spreader reportedly gave a gift that no one wants – COVID-19 – to at least 75 residents and staff of a retirement home in Mol in Antwerp, Belgium, after a goodwill visit to the last week.
Authorities say the son of one of the residents disguised as Sinterklaas, or Santa Claus, to spread holiday cheer to the 169 residents locked up in the Hemelrjck house. But days later, the first 57 and now 75 staff and elderly residents tested positive for the potentially fatal virus, according to The Brussels Times.
“It was done with the best intention, but it went wrong,” Wim Caeyers, the city’s mayor, said of the unfortunate event. “It’s a very dark day for the retirement home.”
Now health workers are trying to mitigate the spread so that it does not pass to other residents. “It’s a very great mental strain for the man who played Saint Nicholas, as well as for the organizers and the staff, to put up with,” Caeyers told a local television station. “Everyone will be on deck for the next week or so.”
The allegedly infected Santa wore a mask during the initial visit, but photos posted on social media by family members show he removed it for the camera. “Initially, they said the rules were followed,” Caeyers said. “But then right away you get pictures of the families of the residents where you can see that was not the case.”
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